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Full text of "Four years on the firing line"

FOUR YEARS 

ON THE 

FIRING LINE 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 



0QQl0ia4733 




Book / 






Coiyriglitl^°-_ r 1^ ^ 



COPYRIGHT DEPOSIT. 




^^^^^^M 



COL. JAMES COOPER NISBET 
Captain Company H, 21st Georgia Regiment, 
Trimble's Brigade, Ewell's Division, Jack- 
son's Corps, 1861-1863 Colonel 66th Georgia 
Regiment, Wilson's Brigade, Walker's Divis- 
ion, Army of Tennessee, 1863-1865. 



FOUR YEARS 

ON THE 
FIRING LINE 

BY 
COL. JAMES COOPER NISBET 




Copyright applied for. 



Published by 

THE IMPERIAL PRESS 

CHATTANOOGA 



■ A/rz 






"Here is naught unproven, here is nothing hid, 
Step for step, and word for word, so the old kings did." 

— Kipling. 



MAY -4 1914 






N 



v> 






CONTENTS 



Chapter 1 — Scotchman in America. 

Chapter 2— Premonitions of War. 

Chapter 3 — A Protest from Tennessee. 

Chapter 4— A Protest from Massachusetts. 

Chapter 5— A Sound Chestnut. 

Chapter 6 — The Call to Arms. 

Chapter 7— The Twenty -first Georgia Regiment. 

Chapter 8— The Private Soldier. 

Chapter 9— Our "Submerged Tenth." 

Chapter 10— The Valley Campaign. 

Chapter 11 — On to Richmond. 

Chapter 12— McClellan's Retreat. 

Chapter 13— Second Manassas Campaign. 

Chapter 14 -Chantilly. 

Chapter 15— Maryland Campaign. 

Chapter 16— Resting. 

Chapter 17— Fredricksburg Campaign. 

Chapter 18 — Promotion. 

Chapter 19— Chickamauga. 

Chapter 20— Turchins Iliad. 

Chapter 21 — Scapegoats. 

Chapter 22 — Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. 

Chapter 23— Ringgold and Dalton. 

Chapter 24— Atlanta Campaign. 

Chapter 25 — Peachtree Creek and Atlanta. 

Chapter 26— U. S. Military Prison, Johnson Island. 

Chapter 27 — Chambersburg. 

Chapter 28 — Pennsylvania Campaign. 

Chapter 29 — Surrender. 

Chapter 30— Homeward Bound. 

Chapter 31— Macon. 

Chapter 32 — Carthagena delenda est. 

Chapter 33 — Lookout Valley. 

Chapter 34 — Reconstruction. 

Chapter 35— Kuklux-Klan. 

Chapter 36— Philanthropy's Cloven Foot. 

Chapter 37 — Law and Order. 

Chapter 38— The Negro. 

Chapter 39— Resume. 
Chapter 40 — Afterword. 



FOREWORD. 

It is conceded that the Southerner put up his 
fight for his principles. Inherited experiences of 
the price of a principle were in him. His Hugenot, 
Covenanter, and Cavalier ancestry had waded hip- 
deep in blood for "what they then believed to be 
right!" "Dieu pt mon droit." It had the pull of a 
planet with the Southerner. 

This book is a tribute to the Confederate Soldier. 

Its pages are written in the interest of historic 
truth. 

They record personal impressions and observa- 
tions of the stirring times prior to and during the 
Civil War: and of the stormy Reconstruction Era: 
following the cessation of hostilities in the field. 
These stories of courage, fortitude, sacrifice, deal 
with the human side of the struggle: the pathos — 
the laughter — the tragedy — and even the comedy of 
four frantic years. 

The campaigns and battles through which the 
writer passed are herein set down. All important 
facts mentioned are verified from the statements 
and records of "our friends, the enemy." Brief 
accounts are given of soldiers under whom and 
with whom I served: and of certain leaders of the 
opposing forces: with a full and free criticism of 
everybody and everything concerned. 

"The fear of ofTending established views, destroys 
the powers of investigation." I write without fear 
or favor: with the unhindered pen of limpid 
candor: moved by "the fighting soul of a fighting 
man, proved in the long ago." 

When the passions engendered by the Civil War 
are an extinct volcano, may some new Macaulay 
arise! — to give the world an unbiased history of the 
War Between the States: compiled from data fur- 
nished by the men who fought its battles. 



THE SCOTCHMAN IN AMERICA. 

Said Edmund Burke: "Those will not look for- 
ward to their posterity, who never look back at their 
ancestry," The posterity of the Southern colonist 
had to be reckoned with in the Southern Soldier. 
What was behind him? Emigrants driven to Amer- 
ica by oppression, who taught their children to 
resist tyranny. 

The Scotch people, imbued with the doctrine of 
"final perseverance" carry the idea into every under- 
taking: and Scotch persistance, bred in the bone, 
has created history "wherever they have made their 
mortal fight. Under great difficulties, against over- 
whelming odds, the Scotch succeeded in establish- 
ing Presbyterianism as the religion of Scotland. 
And for centuries, the Covenanter's immovable 
moral principle — moral dominance — made him a 
target for every shaft. 

Execrable Jeffreys, "link'd to one virtue and a 
thousand crimes," vociferated in fhe assizes: "I can 
smell a Presbyterian forty miles!" which was possi- 
ble, since the vulture does scent its prey for that 
distance! Taine cast this saying in the teeth of the 
prolific De Foe: "When he approaches fiction, it 
is with low ideals and moral aims: — like a Pres- 
byterian and a plebian." 

1 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Old Hudibras was hardly unfair to the Gove- 
aanter : 

"For he was of that stubborn crew 
Of errant-saints, whom all men grant 
To be the true church militant: 
Such as do build their faith upon 
The holy text of pike and gun!" 

In this our day, corosive Ingersnll is moved to 
say: "Of all the Msms' that over afflicted mankind 
Presbyterianism is the worst." 

And a sharp-toothed critic whose bark is not 
worse than his bite, attacks James Lane Allen's 
poetic style with the old gibe: "But behind the poet 
lurks the Presbyterian!" 

Nevertheless, the faith of the Covenanter has 
withstood for centuries — always and everywhere — 
the onset of infidelity and oppression. 

In America these people are spoken of as Scotch- 
Irish: a misnomer, if Scotch-Irish implies a graft 
of Scotch blood on Irish stock. Apart from, the 
thousands of Scotchmen who came direct to Amer- 
ica, what of the Ulstermen? — the Scf>tf'hmpu who 
made a stepping-stone of the north of Ireland on 
their v^^ay to independence? 

In the year 1609 was inaugurated a settlement of 
the plantations in Ulster by Scotch gentry from the 
"lowlands" around and between Glasgow and Edin- 
burg. They were selected by his Majesty James I 
for "their probity, intelligence, and industry." The 
lands in Ulster — a million acres, or more — had been 
forfeited to the Grown. The earls of Tyrone and 
Tyrconnel having carried on internecine wars — we 
call 'em feuds in Kentucky! — for many years, found 
their possessions in ruins, taxes unpaid, and lands 
desolate. The English government put a stop to 
further fighting. Presto, the plucky Irishmen — 
branded as outlaws — took ship with some of their 
retainers, and sailed away to the Continent: taking 
with them the glorious memory of "illegant flght- 



THE SCOTCHMAN IN AMERICA 

thin" and leaving their paternal acres to King 
James. 

To the Scotch settlers these lands were sold on 
favorable terms and conditions, as Indian lands 
are sold here. History sets forth that the new 
comers and their descendants were thrifty: improv- 
ing the soil, building churches, schools, cities. A 
London colony had a grant of 210,000 acres near 
Derry. They settled there, and the town became 
in time Londonderry. About this time came the 
Hugenots; skilled artisans who escaped to these 
shores from France, after the Revocation of the 
Edict of Nantes. Later a large body of Hollanders 
were sent out by William of Orange: settling about 
Belfast. With these immigrants the Scotch inter- 
married: retaining, however, their racial charac- 
teristics and form of faith. With the native Irish 
Catholics it does not appear that the Scotch did 
intermarry. Between these two peoples existed a 
deadly hostility: irreconcilable differences in belief. 
Except in isolated instances, social contact was 
aveided. So the Scotch-Irishman was a Scotchman 
born in Ireland: not a man of Scotch and Irish 
parentage. One old historian, who was out of this 
stock, observes: ''They formed a distinct race from 
the native Celts : and were distinguished for enter- 
prise, intellectual capacity and love of liberty." 

It was the non-conformist laws begun under 
Elizabeth in 1558, and continued under the Stuarts, 
and even under William of Orange, which drove so 
many people of Scotch descent to America in the 
two hundred years prior to the Revolution. Not- 
withstanding the heroic defense of Londonderry, 
and the successful battle of the Boyne, the English 
ecclesiastical laws continued to burden the Scotch- 
men. So, in the century and a half from 1620 to 
1775, there occurred a still greater tide of emigra- 
tion from the Lowlands of Scotland, and from the 
"stepping-stone" in Ireland, Ulster, to America. 
They came hating the English government. Oppo- 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

sition was bred in the bone of their children. Land- 
ing, for the most part, at Philadelphia, they pushed 
inland: western Pennsylvania receiving the first 
great accession from this invasion. On, through 
the Cumberland Valley to the Potomac rolled the 
tidal wave of Covenanters. When the Virginia 
House of Burgesses granted them an Act of Reli- 
gious Toleration, they overspread the Valley of Vir 
ginia from Harper's Ferry to Staunton: excepting 
that portion of Rockingham county settled by Ger 
man protestants: and they also occupied the Pied- 
mont country from Leesburg to Charlottesville. 

This tide, turning south at length, was met by a 
similar invasion of Scotch Presbyterians coming 
from the ports of Wilmington and Charleston: to 
people the counties of middle North Carolina and 
northern South Carolina. Here was "The Fore- 
loper:" — come to gouge a home out of the wilder- 
ness. 

"The gull shall whistle in his wake, the blind wave 

break in fire, 
He shall fulfil God's utmost will unknowing His 

desire : 
And he shall see old planets pass and alien stars 

arise : 
And give the gale his reckless sail in the shadow 

of new skies. 
Strong lust of gear shall drive him out, and hunger 

arm his hand 
To wring his food from a desert nude, his foothold 

from the sand. 
His neighbor's smoke shall vex his eyes, their voices 

break his rest. 
He shall go forth till south is north, sullen and 

dispossessed; 
And he shall desire loneliness, and his desire shall 

bring 
Hard on his heels a thousand wheels, a people and 

a king: 



THE SCOTCHMAN IN AMERICA 

And he shall come back in his own track, and by 

his scarce cool camp 
There he shall meet the roaring street, the derrick 

and the stamp: 
For he must blaze a nation's ways with hatchet and 

with brand, 
Till on his last-won wilderness an empire's bul- 
warks stand." 

In the day of the musket and frying-pan — and 
conscience! — outfit, the preacher was not without 
authority. How did he use it in these Southern 
colonies? Bending across the little pine table which 
held The Word of God in the log meeting-house, the 
Covenanter delivered to his spell-bound congrega- 
tion this message: "We must fight!" 

"Sorely have our countrymen been dealt with ; 
until forced to the declaration of their independence. 
Our forefathers in Scotland made a similar declara- 
tion and maintained it with their lives. It is now 
our turn to maintain this." 

This was the sermon the old Covenanter, Martin, 
thundered into the ears of his flock at the Rocky 
Creek meeting-house on the Catawba river, in the 
rumble of the tempest — the A.merican Revolution. 

His listeners were "the descendants of the most 
vigorous and worthy Irish, Scotch, English and 
Wolsh." Every m.other's son of them believed "No 
man's authority is greater than any man's right." 

Lo, the breed of the Southern Soldier! From these 
armies of Covenanters turned loose in America 
sprung up, in the fullness of years, the bigger paH 
of the army of the Confederacy. From these undis- 
mayed souls — law-abiding, God-fearing, hard-fight- 
ing fellows — came forth The Man in Gray: — he 
whose doings shook the world. 

The mass of Scotch Presbyterians was always 
aglow with "that very fiery particle" the Irsh Pres- 
byterian. After the Revolution he became the hor- 
net of Education. He stood for attainments and 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

"the hickory." He thrashed an education into the 
young Southerners. 

Governor Gilmer, in his nistory of the settlement 
of Georgia, remarks : "The schools, in almost every 
instance, were taught by educated Irishmen : and 
the highest ambition of an Irish Presbyterian was 
to have his eldest son become a preacher." 

The severance of the colonies from Great Britain, 
in numberless cases, meant the severance of the in- 
dividual from the ties and claims of consanguinity: 
from rights, titles and inheritances more or less 
considerable. When the President of the United 
States wore leather shoe-strings as an item of 
"straight Democracy," he set the pace for other peo- 
ple. To be American a man must disdain lineage 
and noble forbears. If he were a younger son out 
of titled family, — there w'ere then, as now, plenty 
of them in America— few persons were the wiser 
for it. Who cared? The aristocrat had become the 
poor pioneer. As a result of this state of things. 
The Man in Gray was, in thousands and thousands 
of instances, a scion of historic and noble families. 
Many a time he Imew it. Many a time he didn't 
even know it. The wilderness smudges away dis- 
tinctions. Howbeit, into the "melting-pot" of the 
Southern colonies went not only the "simple faith," 
but the "Norman blood." Specifically, the rank and 
file of the Southern armies boasted some of the best 
blood on earth. And plenty of it ! As for the private 
— God bless him ! — there were privates in our ranks 
whose pedigrees, as a matter of fact, are pointed 
out in Burke's Peerage. So, we are reminded of the 
Irish witticism: "Faith, every man is as good as 
every other one, — an' bet-ther too!" 

In the Scotch output via Philadelphia in the year 
year 1730 was one antecedent of the Southern Sol- 
dier that I know most about. His name was John 
Nisbet. He was a descendent of that historic religious 
turbulent, Murdoch Nisbet, of Hardhill, Loudon 
parish, Scotland. Murdoch Nisbet — born in the 



THE SCOTCHMAN IN AMERICA 

year 1500 — was one of those religious precursors 
of the Reformation who suffered exile for his prin- 
ciples. He left behind him, at his death, his trans- 
lation of the Scriptures from the original, and a 
great-grandson who became — at the conjunction of 
the Man and the Hour — a martyr to his faith. This 
was John Nisbet I. He was Captain John Nisbet of 
the Army of the Covenant. He, too, was born at 
Hardhill, Scotland: in 1627. He saw military 
service abroad, before he became an officer in the 
Army of the Covenant. After the battle of Both- 
well's bridge, he was captured by Claverhouse's 
cavalry. He was tried by the infamous Jeffreys at 
"the bloody assizes" in Edinburg: "with the Duke 
of Argyle and other prominent Scotch leaders, he 
was convicted of treason against the English gov- 
ernment, and executed December 4th, 1685. Hume 
mentions his as "gallant John Nisbet." Lord Tor- 
foot, in his memoirs — Edinburg Library — refers to 
him in the same manner. And "honest old John 
Nisbet" was the tender name given him by Sir Rob- 

' "f^amilton, his commander-in-chief. 

Afterward, when the cause of the Covenanters 
ftad prevailed, John Nisbet's son, James Nisbet, be- 
came Governor of Edinburg Castle; and wrote and 
published (1719) the life of his father: (Edinburg 
Public Library) from which volume these facts are 
derived. James's son, John Nisbet IT, was born 1705, 
and came to America in 1730. Landing at Philadel- 
phia, as already mentioned, he finally settled in Bla- 
den County N. C. — afterwards Rowan County — 
about 1735. There, in "Thyatira Cemetery" he is 
buried, with "Sarah, his faithful wife; who departed 
this life in ye month of October 1764." The son of 
these two people, — John Nisbet III — was born 1738. 
He married Mary, the daughter of Colonel Alexan- 
der Osborne, and " was a man of distinction in his 
day: prominent in the Revolutionary struggle." Of 
him, one of the histories of North Carolina says: 
"He was a man whose brains, wealth, and activities 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

were employed in the service of his counh^y. His 
death was lamented." (Statesville, North Carolina, 
1813.) 

"His son. James Nisbet, after graduation, took 
his diploma in medicine from Jefferson College, 
Philadelphia. He moved to Georgia, with his negroes 
and settled a plantation near Union Point in Greene 
County. He married Penelope Cooper; daughter of 
Captain Thomas Cooper, who had come to Georgia 
from Virginia in 1793; settling a plantation in the 
newly acquired Creek-Indian Lands, known as Han- 
cock County. Captain Cooper had been a member 
of the Virginia House of Burgesses; an office then 
scarcely inferior in dignity, and superior in influ- 
ence, to that of delegate to the Continental Congress. 
During the Revolution Thomas Cooper held a cap- 
taincy in "George Vv^ashington's Own." He died in 
1779. James Nisbet and his wife, Penelope Cooper 
Nisbet, reared a large family; five sons and four 
daughters: several of whom became distinguished 
Georgians: notably, Eugenius A. Nisbet; whose de- 
cisions as judge of supreme court are still quoted 
OS high authority. Judge Nisbet was an active trus- 
tee of the State University, member of the U. S. Con- 
gress, afterwards of the Confederate Congress, and 
an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. Another son 
was Franklin A. Nisbet: cotton-planter, legislator, 
and man of letters. He married Miss Arabella Alex- 
ander of Alabama. Their children and grand-chil- 
dren do honor to the name they bear. A third son 
was James A. Nisbet. He married Frances Rebecca, 
daughter of Dr. John Wingfield : of Madison, Geor- 
gia; a distinguished and highly cultivated gentle- 
man. James A. Nisbet practiced law successfully in 
Macon, Georgia. He was a leading citizen in build- 
ing up that section of the state. James Alexander 
Nisbet and Francis Wingfield Nisbet were my pa- 
rents. 

In May 1775 we find these people — Scotch-Amer- 
icans — assembled in Charlotte, North Carolina, pro- 



THE SCOTCHMAN IN AMERICA 

mulgating "The Mecklenburg Declaration of Inde- 
pendence:" more than a year before others in the 
Colonies were ready to tala^ such a step. 

The "Declaration" was written by Dr. Ephraim 
Brevard, a relative of the Nisbet family; and the 
document read to the crowd assembled at the Char- 
lotte Court House, by Dr. Brevard's brother, a law- 
yer of that place. The meeting at the Court House 
was called together by Col. Thomas PolR: a great- 
uncle of President Jas. K. Polk. President Polk's 
grandfather, Ezekiel Polk, was one of the signers 
of this momentous instrument: — an instrument iu 
the most literal sense of the word ;since it was meant 
"to instruct" and "to build up". 

The authenticity of "The Mecklenburg Declara- 
tion has been questioned. Thomas Jefferson wro*'^ 
a jocular letter to John Adams in which he ex- 
presses a doubt of its authenticity; saying: "I never- 
heard of it until twenty years after." However, 
the legislature of North Carolina took the matter 
up; and appointed a committee of investigation 
The British archives, and the Colonial archives of 
North Carolina were searched. It was ascertaineo 
that the Loyalist governor of North Carolina, Gov- 
ernor Martin, had obtained a copy of The Cape 
Fear Neivs, in which Thb Mecklenburg Declaration 
was published, and had forvv'arded the inflamma- 
tory sheet to the British officials with a letter de- 
nouncing the "Declaration" as "infamous;" and 
recommending that the men who had signed it be 
seized for treason. 

There were about thirty "signers". 

And every man of 'em was a Presbyterian! 

Governor Gilmer, a man of the highest character 
and cultivation, contributes his testimony regard- 
ing the Mecklenburg Declaration, in his History. 
It is new light — and lime-light — on old doubts. 
Those who would impugn the precedence of the 
movement for Independence, should read Gilmer's 
statement, here quoted for the first time. 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

"The rumors about the battles of Lexington and 
Bunker Hill, so excited the Scotch-Irish of Meck- 
lenburg that on the 10th of May 1775, they assem- 
bled in the little village of Charlotte to agree upon 
what they would do. They made the following 
Declarations of their opinions and purposes." (Then 
follows a copy of the instrument.) "There are still 
living some whose parents were in that assem- 
blage," the old historian continues "and heard and 
read the resolutions; and from whose lips they 
learned the circumstances and sentiments of this 
remarkable Declaration. When the chairman of 
the meeting put the question: "Who will carry our 
resolves to the Congress of the Confederation?" 
James Jack, a bold, enthusiastic man, answered: 
"I will." 

Immediately after a lone horseman might have 
been seen pressing his horse on through the country 
toward the north. When James Jack arrived in 
Philadelphia,, he attended the Congress and deliv- 
ered his message to some of its members. That body 
took no notice of it in its proceedings. The major- 
ity were not then prepared to jeopardize their lives 
and property by doing what was treasonable. 

While the Declaration of Independence made by 
the Congress of the Confederation, on the 4th of 
July. 1776, has been upon the lips of every Amer- 
ican upon every return of its anniversary, the Decla- 
ration of Independence made more than a year be- 
fore, by the Mecklenburg people, remained for a 
long time unknown to fame. The fact that such 
a "Declaration" had been made, was unnoticed in 
history; unknown to the public: and denied when 
asserted: — until placed beyond dispute by the pro- 
duction of two copies which had continued in the 
possession of persons present when it was made : and 
by the finding of a copy which was sent to his Gov- 
ernment by some British officer in the Southern Col- 
onies, and deposited in the Colonial Office of Lon- 
don". 

10 



THE SCOTCHMAN IN AMERICA 

It is unfortunate Uiat Gilmer's transcripiion of 
The Mecklenburg "Declaration of Independence" 
is undated. He testified thai the date -was May iO'h., 
1775. 

At that pregnant period there were few Method- 
ists. Before the Revolution, Wesley sent out two 
ministers to America. (1769) In 1 773 there were in 
the Thirteen States a membership of 1,160 Metho- 
dists, This number was reported at their first Amer- 
ican Conference: Baltimore, 1773. This consisted 
of ten Methodist preachers; all born in England or 
Ireland. Being unable to take the oath of allegiance 
to the Colonies, or to sympathize with things Amer- 
ican, these men all returned to England, except one: 
Asbury. By May 1776 there were 24 Methodist 
preachers and 4,921 members. Of these, seven 
preachers and one thousand members returned to 
England at the outbreak or hostilities. 

In Bhcde Island Roger Williams had a big back- 
ing of Baptists : and there were a few scattered 
throughout the Colonies. In 1727 a church was 
<>rganiz"d in North Carolina, with a small congre 
gallon. In Virginia, about the same time, the Bap- 
fist Church was increased considerably by acces- 
sictns from England. In 1770 Brown University, 
of Providence, was founded. The Baptists in the 
States though weak in numbers, were for Indepen- 
dence and religious freedom: and took an active 
part in the Revolution. Just before, and just after 
the war with Great Britain, there were Baptist re- 
vivals; and a phenomenal increase in the numbers 
of this church. After the Revolution both denom- 
inations — Baptists and Methodists— grew in num- 
bers, rapidly. Our forefathers were embracing 
forms of church government better suited to pioneer 
life. Hence, during the Civil War the Presbyterians 
were in the minority, albeit the majority of the pop- 
ulation was of Scotch stock. 

It appears that the Episcopalians about Charlotte 
— that North Carolina village was the Oracle of 

11 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

American Independence : — at the inception of the 
Revolution were English ; and loyal to the crown. 
English Episcopalians held inviolate the doctrine of 
Church and State : believing in prelacy. They had 
no quarrel with Great Britain; but loved the Mother- 
Country. At the outbreak of war, the Ghurclimen 
in the Northern States generally held with the Brit- 
ish Governmont. Southern Churchmen, when the 
fight was on, were, for the most part, enlisted in the 
cause of the Great Rebellion, 

There were a vast number of Loyalists. John 
Adams estimated that at the close of the struggle 
with Great Britain, "one third of the total popula- 
tion of three millions, were opposed to the measures 
of the Revolution." During the conflict many Loy- 
alists fled to England, or to some of the British 
Possessions . A large number enlisted for active 
service, against their fellow-colonists: in regularly 
organized British regiments. Thousands took 
refuge in Canada; where, between forty and fifty 
thousand are said to have gone prior to 1786, 

The reminiscences of these people record vicis- 
situdes and disruption. History, as they made it, 
was a fierce experience. Their prolonged wander- 
ings are an Odyssey of stirring interest. The fidel 
ity of these people ^o the English Grown was unfal- 
tering. It was by these emigrants that the provinces 
of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were settled. 
The British Government made liberal provision to 
cover their losses. 

The very spirit of the initiative, we find the 
Scotch-American on the Wautauga and Holston: 
always bound for the frontier; always, — where new 
land could be had — entering in to possess i\ : always 
the Prologue to Civilization. On, to middle Tennes- 
see he pressed; making that state the stronsrhold 
of the Scotch-American breed in the United States. 
The richest lands became theirs by rigtit of discov- 
ery and occupation. The settler of a later and safer 
p'-riod might take what liis bold predecessor hftd no 

12 



THE SCOTCHMAN IN AMERICA 

use for. After the Revolution, emigrants from 
the Carolinas, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, settled 
the "middle West." Still pushing westward with 
Sam Houston, Crockett and Fannin, the "Lone Star 
State" was added to our Republic. This was the 
breed of men that under the leadership of "the Lew- 
ises of Augusta County, Virginia," broke the back- 
bone of Indian power at Point Pleasant, and opened 
up the Ohio River. Under the same leaders they 
saved Braddock's army at Fort Du Quesne: and it 
was Daniel Morgan's regiment from the Valley of 
Virginia that secured victory at Saratoga. When 
Morgan was presented to General Rurgoyne, the lat- 
ter exclaimed : "My dear Sir, you command the finest 
regiment in the world;" Morgan was made Briga- 
dier-General and sent to Greene's assistance in South 
Carolina, and was the hero of the "Cowpens." He 
died at his beautiful home "Saratoga" and is buried 
near Winchester, Virginia. 

At Brandywine; Cowpens; King's Mountain; 
Guilford Court House ; Yorktown, The Scotch-Amer- 
ican was the chief factor of success to the American 
arms. And still later, in the person of General 
Andrew Jackson at New Orleans and in the make-up 
of his army. The Scot in Scotland, in Ireland, in 
America, never loses his racial identity. "Semper 
Eadem" is the motto that fits the man. That which 
he was at Derry and the Boyne, and in the battles of 
the Civil War, that will he be whenever his country 
calls. Wheresoever he makes his "mortal fight" he 
is always the first to start, and the last to stop. 

Ex-Governor Joseph Johnston of Alabama, says: 
"In the war between the States, the two most largely 
populated by the "Scotch-Irish" race, led all the rest 
in the splendor of their achievements: and the great- 
est loss occurred when the Iron Soldiers of North 
Carolina, and Western Pennsylvania, descendants 
of the same race and stock, met on the field of battle, 
and locked arms in the embrace of death." 

13 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

The greatest loss sustained by any regiment dur- 
ing the Civil War, was that of the 26th. North Car- 
olina at Gettysburg. It went into the fight 800 
strong; its loss in killed and wounded was 580: — 
over seventy per cent. This loss was sustained ir 
figuliiig the 151st Pennsylvania, and Cooper's Bat- 
ccr V , 

The Light Drigade at Balaklava, immorlalized by 
historians and poets, lost, in that "wild charge the\ 
made," only ihiriy-three and a third per cent. 

In 1861 the voting population of North Carolina 
was only 115,000, yet the state furnished the Con- 
federate army 125,000 soldiers. 

14,552 North CaroUna troops fell in the field. The 
number of those who died from wounds, was 20,00? 
Total loss 35,124. 

North Carolina resisted secession, but was first at 
Bethel— Col. D. H. Hill's North Carolina Brigade 
firing first shot — and last at Appomattox — Goxe's 
North Carolina Brigade firing the last shot. 

When this Scotch blood gave its impulse to the 
Union Armies after 1862, — it poured in from 
Western Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and the 
other middle-western states — it did more to turn the 
tide of battle, which had at first set in favor of the 
South, than the Puritan, German, or any other 
strain. 

This stock has given eight Presidents to the United 
States. Of the Secretarys of the Treasury, one half 
the number are of this blood: as are one third of 
the Secretarys of State. Among them we find the 
names of Louis McClean, Thomas Ewing, John C. 
Calhoun, Thomas Corwin, Henry Clay, James Guth- 
rie, Jefferson Davis, Salmon P. Chase, John C. Breck- 
inridge, Hugh McCulloch, Jas. G. Blaine. The Puri- 
tan in America has received generous recognition, 
and so has the Cavalier. It is high time that justice 
be done the Scot, who has played the most promi- 
nent part in American Civilization. 

14 



THE SCOTCHMAN IN AMERICA 

Among Revolutionary statesmen and orators, Jef- 
ferson, Alexander Hamilton, and Patrick Henry led 
the van. Of Washington's 22 Brigadiers, nine were 
of Scotch descent. Andrew Jackson and his men 
gave us peace with the Indians and Great Britain, 
and wrested Florida from the Spaniards. Sara 
Houston, Crocket and Fannin gave us Texas. In 
the Civil War the names of such Unionists as Grant, 
McPherson, MoDowell, McClellan, Gilmore and 
Frank Blair became salient. Among the Confeder- 
ates of imperishable fame, were Jos. E. Johnston, 
James Longstreet, J. E. B. Stuart, and how many 
others? — all of the self-same breed. And there is 
yet another name which in itself is enough to shed 
an undying lustre over the ranks of the Lost Cause : 
— over the whole race of Scotch-Americans; — 
Stonewall Jackson. 

In the field of invention, the American Scot bulks 
large. Henry and Morse, evolvers of the telegraph; 
Edison, the Avatar of Electricity; and Alexander 
Graham Bell, come first. Bell was born m Edinburg. 

In manufactures, Cyrus McCormick is the genius 
of the harvest. The wheat-fields of the West are 
brought to our doors with his reapers. As for the 
iron-masters of Ohio and Pennsylvania, Scotch- 
Americans, — all. From Grant and Campbell — the 
first to use the Hot-Blast^ — -to Andrew Carnegie: in 
whose colossal operations the iron and steel man- 
ufactures seem to culminate. 

In transportation, the great Penn. R. R. system 
has been continuously in the hands of men ofScotch 
extraction: Edgar Thompson; McCulloch; Scott; 
McRee; Pitcairn; Andrew Carnegie, A. J .Cassatt. 

The fast printing-presses were developed by Gor- 
don and Campbell. 

The most notable editors in the United States were 
Bennett and Greely : one a Scotchmen ; the other an 
Ulsterman. Bennett is credited with the conception 
of the modern newspaper: a universal newsmonger. 

15 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Greely, "our later Franklin," as he was termed 
by Whittier, made the newspaper the most efficient 
force ever used in the propagation of political con- 
ceptions. 

In literature, the Scotch-American is eloquent. 
That patriarch of American Letters, Washington 
Irving, was the son of Scotch parents who had been 
but two years in x\merica when the coming author 
— came. 

Against the background of the world the Scotch- 
American stands in bas-relief: 



16 



II 

PREMONITIONS OF WAR. 

In.1856 I was preparing for college at a high- 
school in Rome, Georgia. There, I first met Alger- 
non Sydney Hamilton, a son of Dr. Thomas Ham- 
ilton of Bartow, — then Cass County — Georgia. We 
were related through our common ancestor Captain 
Thomas Cooper. 

Hamilton had just returned from "Bloody Kan- 
sas," and had many stirring tales to tell of his ad- 
ventures. He and his brothers, Charles and Peter, 
had taken their negroes there, — as authorized by 
the Kansas-Nebraska Act — and entered land. When 
the agitation over slavery had culminated in blood- 
shed, the Hamiltons had joined and fought with the 
''Missouri Ruffians," under United States Senator 
Atchison, against the "Kansas Jay-Hawkers". The 
pro-slavery men were at first successful, and organ- 
ized the territory under the Le Compton Constitu- 
tion : which authorizes slavery. This Constitution 
was rejected by Congress. Another election was 
ordered. 

In the meantime, the crusade begun in the North 
by Henry Ward Beecher, W^endell Phillips, Theodore 
Parker, Geritt Smith and others, w^ equal to that 
begun by Peter the Hermit, when his proclamations 
aroused Europe to rescue the Holy Sepulchre. 

The Eastern States were in a ferment. Much 
money was raised, and thousands of desperate men 
were sent into Kansas, armed with Sharpe's rifles. 
The South prn men were overpowered by numbers, 
and many left the territory. Consequently, the Free- 

17 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Soil party carried the next election. This party 
adopted a Constitution forbidding slavery. 

With others, the Hamiltons left for Texas, with 
their negroes and teams; passing through the Indian 
Territory. 

The repeal of the Missouri Compromise measure, 
adopted by Congress in 1822 through the efforts of 
Senator Clay, which had fixed the status of slavery 
in the Territories, now opened up anew the agita- 
tion which had been allayed for thirty-one years. 

The admission of Missouri into the Union of 
States had been effected through compromise. This 
compromise-law admitted the state into the Union 
with a pro-slavery constitution, but provided that 
slavery should never be lawful north of latitude 36 
deg. 30 min. — the Southern boundary of Missouri. 

The Hon. Ben. H. Hill, of Georgia, regarded Ste- 
phen A. Douglas's Kansas-Nebraska Bill as "ill ad- 
vised and in bad faith toward the North." In n 
prophetic speech, he said: "Take care, my fellow 
citizens, that in endeavoring to carry slavery where 
nature's laws prohibit its entrance, and where your 
solemn faith is pledged it shall not go, you do not 
Idse the right to hold slaves at all." 

Rhodes, the historian says: "It is safe to say that 
in its scope and consequences, the Kansas-Nebrask:^ 
Ac! was the most momentous measure from the <'f- 
ganization of the Union of States to the outbreak r^f 
the- Civil War. It sealed the doom of the two old 
parties. It aroused Lincoln, and gave a bent to h'S 
ambition. It made his election possible. 

Hamilton, when twitted about having retreated 
from Kansas, answered that he and his brothers had 
"welcomed a fight in the open," but "when the des- 
peradoes commenced to do secret murder, — slaying 
sleeping households in their beds; — then we threw 
up the sponge." 

He mentioned one John Brown, and his sons, as 
very desperate characters; on the Free-Soil side. 
Little did we then know that this man, Brown, 

18 



PREMONITIONS OF WAR 

would thereafter acquire by his monstrous deeds, a 
world-wide infamy. To him, it will be necessary 
to reler again. 

In the summer of 1859 I finished my college 
course; and that autumn I settled Cloverdale Stock 
Farm, in Lookout Valley, Dade County Georgia. 
The anti-slavery agitation had grown fiercer from 
year to year; fanned by the intemperate utterances 
of ultramen on both sides. At the North, Sumner 
Seward, Beecher, Wendell Phillips, Garrison, etc. 
were loud-mouthed. At the South, Toombs, Yan- 
cey, Brooks, Ruffin, etc. gave tongue. 

After the Dred Scot decision, Seward — or Garrison 
— announced that "The United States Constitution 
w.is a league with Hell and a covenant with Satan." 
And he proceeded to proclaim a "Higher Law," 

Iviosi of the Northern states passed "Personal Lib- 
erty Laws" as to escaped slaves : thus nullifying th'^ 
Supreme Court decision. In the halls of Congress 
Toombs cast this saying in the teeth that were on 
edge. "1 will y^i call the roll of my slaves at the foot 
of Bunker Hill Mr.nument." 

0(?ioher 17th, 1859, the whole country was startled 
hy the news that the United States Arsenal at Har- 
per's Ferry had been seized by one Capt. John Brown 
and sixteen others from Kansas, five of whom were 
colored men; that they had killed a negro porter, 
and held sixty prominent citizens prisoners : Brown 
giving out that his object was, to free the slaves." 
This ofTair created intense excitement throughout 
the country, especially in Virginia. The old citizens 
renicmbered that it was near the scene of "Nat Tur- 
U' r's Insurrection," twenty-eight (28) years before, 
in which the negroes, led by Turner, killed fifty- 
eight (58) white persons in forty-eight hours. (See 
Bryant and Gays' History of the United States Vol. 
4) "Surreptitiously without loss to the insurgents." 
John Brown and his party were captured by Col. 
Robt E. Lee and his United States Regulars, and one 
of Brown's four sons was killed in taking the arse- 

19 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

nai. John Brown was tried under the laws of Vir- 
ginia for murder, and inciting slaves to insurrection, 
found guilty and executed. Of this F. B. Sanborn 
author of the "Life and Letters of John Brown," says 
"From the Crucifixion at Jerusalem a light sprang 
forth that was reflected back without obstruction 
from the ugly gallows of Virginia. John Brown took 
up his cross and followed the Lord, and it was 
enough for this servant, that he was as his mas- 
ter" (Life and Letters of John Brown page 118) Now 
that he has been canonized, and by many almost 
deified, it is well to enquire into his life and deeds: 
especially as an Ex-President of the United States 
"who has undoubtedly read the thirteenth and fif- 
teenth verses of the twentieth chapter of Exodus," 
with all the facts before him, essays to. hold John 
Brown up, "As representing the men and generation 
who rendered the greatest service ever rendered this 
country: A man of heroic valor, grim energy, and 
fierce fidelity to big ideals. "What were Brown's "big 
ideals"? How got he his halo? What is the essence 
of evidence concerning this man? What are the 
statements of his own friends? One of his admirers, 
Oswald Garrison Villard in his biography of John 
Brown styled "Fifty years After" — speaking of some 
of Brown's business transactions says, "June 15, 
1839, Jno. Brown received for the New England 
Woolen Co., the sum of $2,800 through its agent Qe(> 
Kellogg for the purchase of Wool, which money he 
used for his own benefit and was unable to redeem 
it. At his death in 1859 his debt was still unpaid 
and John Brown bequeathed $50 toward its payment 
by his last will and testament. A late letter of the 
eminent physician and surgeon John A. Wyeth L. L. 
D. of New York to the New York Sun says: F. B. 
Sanborn, author of the "Life and Letters of John 
Brown," declares, "One of the men killed at Ossa- 
wottomie, Kansas, was Mr. William Sherman, a 
member of the Territorial Legislature. He was sur- 
prised in his bed about two o'clock in the morning, 

20 



PREMONITIONS OF WAR 

May 20th, 1856. Those who accomplished it were 
under John Brown's orders and were directed in all 
their movements by John Brown." (See page 258). 
Sanborn also says, "the men who composed this 
party were John Brown, his four sons, and his 
son-in-law Henry Thompson, a Mr. Weiman and 
James Townsley." James Harris in hfs testimony 
before a committee of Congress, swore: "T took 
Mr. William Sherman out of the creek and ex- 
amined him, Sherman's skull was split in two 
nlacf^s. A large hole was cut in his breast, and 
his left hand was cut off." Sanborn says "when 
the bodies of the dead were found there went up a 
cry that they had been mutilated." Dr. Wy^th says. 
"ordinarillv two gashes through the skull would 
suffice, without lopping off a hand, however the 
director was a man of 'high ideals.' and mu- 
tilation seemed to be necessary." Another of the 
victims WPS a Mr. Wilkerson who was the post- 
master at Shermanville, also a membpr of the Leg- 
i^^latnre. Mrs. Wilkerson, in h'^r testimony before 
fbe nonscrpssional Committee SRid that she was sick 
in bed with +11^ measles, that she bp,<?ged thr>m to let 
hr^v husband sta"^^ with her, as she was hplolpss," 
"The old TOfin, (Brown) who seemed to be in com- 
mand looked at me and then nronnd f»t the children, 
nnd replied, 'vou have neighbors.' Then they took 
^ov husband awav. One of thorn came back and took 
hvo saddlps. The n^xt morninor Mr. Wilkerson ■was 
found . T believe that one of Cant. Brown's sons 
was in the party that murdered mv bnsband. Mv 
bnsband was a auiet man, and was not enga fired in 
prrpstinor .or disturbinsr anybodv." Three Doyles 
^'n+bpr and two sons, both of tbp lads imd^r aare, 
A-^^pre alpo murdered. This done tbp horses and sad- 
Hlps of fjin d^ad m'^n ■v^^'^ere "tpk^n alono"" Tacoordin"' 
+o Sanborn) to Northprn Kansa-^ and ^'^adod off 
^h^^ nn+boT' stvlos the killino' of fb'^s'^ persons 'exe- 
^Tifiortc;", t^ose killed in retaliation by pro-slavery 
mop "murders." 

3 21 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

As to the Doyle family, the following letter taken 
from the original now in the Archives at Richmond, 
Virginia, where it was deposited with other of the 
John Brown documents, will be of interest : 

"Chattanooga, Tenn., Nov. 25th, 1859. 
"John Brown, Sir: 

"Although vengeance is not mine, I confess that 
I am gratified to hear that you were stopped in 
your fiendish career at Harper's Ferry. With the 
loss of your two sons, you can now appreciate my 
distress in Kansas, when you entered my home at 
midnight and arrested my husband and two boys, 
took them out of the yard and in cold blood shot 
them dead. This was in my hearing. You can't 
say you did it to free the slaves: we had none and 
never expected to own one. You made me a dis- 
consolate widow with helpless children. While I 
feel for your folly, I trust you will meet your just 
reward. 0, how it pained my heart to hear the 
dying groans of my husband and children! N. B. 
My son, John Doyle, whose life I begged of you, is 
now grown up, and very desirous to be at Charles- 
town on the day of your execution; that he might 
adjust the rope around your neck if Governor Wise 
will pormit it. 

(Signed) "Mrs. M. Doyle." 

John Doyle, mentioned in the above letter, is now 
a good citizen of Chattanooga, and a Confederate 
Veteran. He says, "I obtained permission from 
Governor Wise, of Virginia, to "adjust the rope," 
however a "Washout" on the East Tennessee and 
Virginia Railroad prevented my reaching the scene 
of 'execution' in time." 



22 



III. 

A Protest from Tessessee. 

Mrs. May Doyle Saunders, daughter of John 
Doyle, says: "In the year 1855 the Doyle family 
left East Tennessee to settle in Kansas. They trav- 
elled across the country in wagons. They ai^rived 
in Franklin County, Kansas, in November. My 
grandfather, Jas. P. Doyle, staked his claim for one 
hundred and sixty acres. They built a house and 
settled down to live. 

My grandfather did not own any slaves, his idea 
of moving to Kansas was not for any political pur- 
poses, but he had a large family of boys and thought 
they could do better there than in this section of 
country. After my grandfather and two uncles 
were murdered, my grandmother gathered up the 
remnant of her family and came back to East Ten- 
nessee to live. My father, John Doyle, (the boy who 
was spared in Kansas), is the last one of the Doyle 
family; seventy-two years old. He is well and 
hearty, and does not look his age by ten years. He 
served through the Civil War under General Joe 
Wheeler; Second Tennessee Cavalry, Ashby's Bri- 
gade. I was reading an article in "Life"^ signed 
"Constant Reader" entering a protest against John 
Brown's statue being placed in the "Hall of Fame." 
I entered my protest, which "Life" published under 
the head of "A Protest from Tennessee." 

(Signed) Mrs. May Doyle Saunders, 

Chattanooga, Tenn., Sept. 26th, 1910. 

John Brown led an expedition into Missouri, and 
forcibly took from their owners, slaves, horses, and 

23 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

other property; and Idlled one man who resisted 
the taking of his effects; and as a result of these 
and other unlawful acts, he (according to Sanborn) 
left Kansas pursued by United States troops, (page 
340), and to escape arrest and punishment lived in 
various places under different aliases. In a letter 
to Eli Thaver, dated April 16th, 1857, this man of 
"High Ideals, Heroic Valor, and Grim Energy," says, 
"I am advised that one of Uncle Sam's hounds is 
on my track." (Page 382). Of the "high idealism" 
which was rampant at this period, this letter from 
Theodore Parker, a great divine of Boston, may be 
an indication: "My Dear Judge Russell: If John 
Bro\^Ti falls into the hands of United States 
Marshall from Kansas, he is sure of the gallows, or 
of something worse. If I were in his position, I 
would shoot dead any man who attempted to arrest 
me for those alleged crimes. I would be tried by 
Massachusetts jury and acquitted." (Page 512). 
The next we hear of John Brown was at Harper's 
Ff^rry, September, 1857. He captured the Govern- 
ment arsonal, which was treason: he killpd a negro 
nortor who was running away. This was murder. 
He had one thousand pikes to arm the negroes of 
the neighborhood when they should rise and mur- 
der all the whites: including women and children: 
as Nat Turner did. The pikes were paid for out 
of JP4,000 contributed for this expedition, bv George 
L. Stoarns, Dr. Howe, Theodore Parker, Col. Hig- 
ginson. F. B. Sanborn, (author), Gerritt Smith 
and others. Sanborn fpage 523) says, "out of a 
little more than $4,000' in money which passed 
^hroufirh the hands of the secret committee in aid of 
bis Virginia enterprise, at least ?^3,000 was given 
with a clear knowledqe of the use to which it would 
be Dut." Brown, himself, according to Sanborn 
(page 572 "i said, after he was a prisoner, "Tf T had 
onlv got the thing fairly started, vou Virginians 
would have seen sights that would hav^ opened 
your eyes." Prof. John W. Burgess, of Columbia 

24 



A Pi^OTEST FROM TENNESSEE 

University, Rooseveltian professor at Berlin, in his 
work on John Brown, refers to his career in Kansas, 
and concludes by saying: "Some men have pro- 
fessed to find virtue in this noxious compound; but 
such minds have lost their moorings, and are roam- 
inw without star or compass over the borderland 
between reason and insanity. 



^ 



IV. 

A Protest from Massachusetts. 

In the Sunday Telegram of Worcester, Massachu- 
setts, September 18th, 1910, we find another protest, 
as follows: "Miss Eva Alden Thayer, of 10 Haw- 
thorne street, has removed the picture of former 
President Theodore Roosevelt from the reception 
room of her home, and placed it in the cellar, as a 
mark of her disapprobation of some of his recent 
utterances as to ante-bellum conditions in Kansas. 
Miss Thayer is the daughter of Eli Thayer, former 
member of Congress from the Worcester district, 
who was associated with Dr. Charles Robinson in 
a successful endeavor to make Kansas a free state. 
Roosevelt, in his speech at Ossawottamie, Kansas, 
totally ignores the work of both of these men, and 
yielded the palm to John Brown. Miss Thayer con- 
tends that Brown, instead of working to secure the 
admission of the state into the Union as a free state, 
was murdering the inhabitants thereof, and his 
presence in the state was greatly deplored; as his 
object was to promote clashes with the lawless peo- 
ple of Missouri, and those who were trying through 
peaceful measures to make Kansas a free state. Miss 
Thayer points out that President William Taft, at 
Topeka, May 30th, 1904, (then Secretary of War), 
speaking to fill an appointment of his chief (Presi- 
dent Roosevelt), declared, that 'the credit for the 
admission of Kansas as a free state is due to Eli 
Thayer and Dr. Charles Robinson." Taft spoke at 
Topeka to fill an appointment for Mr. Roosevelt, and 
it is reasonable to suppose tha^ the War-Secretary 

26 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

voiced the sentiments of his chief. It is an his- 
torical fact that it was Eh Thayer and Dr. Charles 
Robinson who are responsible for the admission of 
the state, January 29th, 1861, as a free state: and 
it is certainly the height of impertinence and audac- 
ity for the man who says he believes in the "Square 
Deal" to give this credit to John Brown, the Harper's 
Ferry insurrectionist, Eli Thayer, before he died, 
1899, wrote a book which he called the "Kansas Cru- 
sade" and former President Roosevelt, in numerous 
letters, bestowed upon this work "lavish praises." 
Miss Thayer offers the speech of Mr. Taft at Topeka, 
May 30th, 1904, when Mr. Taft said, among other 
things: "When the enactment of the Kansas bill, 
1854, presented the issue, 'Shall Kansas be free or 
slave?' a few men, hardly a dozen, determined to 
make her free by peopling the state with citizens 
who would forever exclude slavery. It is a note- 
Vv^orthy fact that the professed and prominent abol- 
itionist scouted the idea that this could be a suc- 
cessful movement; they refused to engage as allies, 
because it did not appear with sufficient clearness 
that they were casting themselves upon the altar in 
declared and open sacrifice for the cause of the 
negro.. The theorists seemed not content with the 
bringing in of the state of Kansas as a free state. 
They demanded that it must be brought in on the 
avowed principle of love for the negro and in his 
interest. Eli Thayer travelled from time to time in 
the North soliciting aid for his Emigration Society, 
and recruiting the ranks of the small bands of set- 
tlers already in Kansas. When it became necessary 
to have guns Thayer obtained and sent them. 

There are no greater heroes in the history of this 
country than Eli Thayer, of Massachusetts, and Dr. 
Charles Robinson, of Kansas." Says Miss Thayer, 
"In 1860 my father was a member of the convention 
that nominated Lincoln, he being sent as a delegate 
from Oregon. 

27 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

The convention adopted resolutions in effect, that 
'John Brown' was one of the greatest criminals the 
world ever saw." 



In the summer of 1860 I attended my sister's grad- 
uation from Abbott's College, Spingler Institute, 
Fifth Avenue and Thirty-fourth street, New York. 
Afterward, we visited Washington, the Northern 
and Eastern States, and Canada. The Presidential 
canvass between Lincoln Douglass, Breckinridge 
and Bell, was on. I heard much political discussion 
and hot utterances. Party spirit ran high. 

When I returned home in the Fall I told my 
Southern friends the political uproar would end in 
Lincoln's election, on account of the split in the 
Democratic party. 

Some of them retorted: "Well, we won't stand 
that. We will leave the Union!" "Then," I said, 
"there will be war: For that is evidently what the 
Abolitionists want. Don't you remember the 
prophesy made by Cobb, of Georgia, years ago, in 
the United States House of Representatives in regard 
to this same slavery agitation ? 'This day a fire has 
been kindled which seas of blood will not serve to 
extinguish!' " 

The agitation which had been going on for sixty 
years culminated in the election of Lincoln : Novem- 
ber 6th, 1860. 

The Abolitionists looked upon their victory as a 
"casus belli." They had thrown down the gauntlet. 
Now let the South pick it up, — by committing some 
overt act which could be construed as treason. This 
pretext was soon found in the Acts of Secession of 
the Southern States. 



28 



V. 

A SOUND CHESTNUT. 

The Constitution sets forth that "all men are 
endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights; 
that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of 
happiness; that to secure these rights governments 
are instituted among men, deriving their just powers 
from the consent of the governed: that whenever 
any form of government becomes destructive of 
these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or 
abolish it, and to institute a new government; lay- 
ing its foundations on such principles and organiz- 
ing its powers in such form as to them shall seem 
most likely to effect their safety and happiness." 

Thirteen years after this Declaration was penned 
the Thirteen States met to form a Union. In adopt- 
ing a Constitution, several of the States insisted on 
a clause allowing them to withdraw from the Union- 
should the Union of States prove to be opposed to 
their interests. 

To further this provision, the ninth and tenth 
amendments were adopted; with the adoption of the 
original Constitution; which expressly recognized 
slaves as property that should be surrendered to the 
owner, in case of the escape of such property into 
a free State. 

That the Constitution recognized the right of a 
State to secede from the Union, was strongly 
asserted and insisted upon by all the New England 
States when they met in convention at Hartford, in 
1814, to protest against a continuance of the war 
with England. Their ablest lawyers and business 

29 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

men were delegates to that convention; and they 
declared "that said States would exercise their Con- 
stitutional Rights to secede from the Union, if the 
war with England did not cease." 

When the war of 1812 was declared, the South 
went into that contest in the protection of Northern 
interests and to vindicate the commercial rights of 
New England: for he South "had neither ships to 
search nor seamen to be impressed." 

Under a pretended opposition to the "Embargo 
Acts," the New England States ignobly backed out 
of the conflict, and left the South and West to bear 
the brunt of it. Soon after, our arms on land and 
sea were victorious; England sued for peace; and 
this outcome kept the New England States in the 
Union. 

As a logical sequence to these facts, when the 
question of secession came up in Georgia, in the 
winter of 1860-61, the Constitutional Right of a 
State to secede from the Union, was admitted by 
such able Union men as Alexander H. Stephens; 
Ben Hill; and Herschell V. Johnston. They plead 
against secession on the ground of expediency. 
Revolutionary and Mexican War memories. Mu- 
tual interests. It was impolitic to dismember the 
Government for the sake of slavery. The south 
should wait for some "Overt Act" on Lincoln's 
part. Thus the oracles. 

Inestimable importance attaches to the clarity of 
one fact: viz. The Constitutional Right of any State 
or States to secede. 

By this basic right, is the South's place in history 
determined. 

Without that right, we were insurgents and reb- 
els. With it, we were a great people in revolution 
for our rights. 

This truth is now being conceded by fair minds 
at the North. 

30 



VI 
THE GALL TO ARMS 

In January 1861, Georgia, "carried away by the 
emotion of the hour," followed South GaroUna, 
Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana in seceding 
from the Union. Other slave-states followed Geor- 
gia, in quick succession. 

President Lincoln was inaugurated March 4th, 
1861. His inaugural address was very conciliatory. 
He promised that the "statu quo" should be pre- 
served at Port Sumpter. The Citizens of Gharleston 
pledged themselves to furnish the small garrison 
there, with such provisions as they required. Beef 
sent by the city to the garrison, was returned by 
Major Anderson. 

In violation of his promise. President Lincoln 
proceeded to send provisions and re-enforcements 
to Fort Sumter. South Carolina's very existence 
was at stake. The State offered resistance; and re- 
duced the Fort. Lincoln at once issued a procla- 
mation calling for seventy-five thousand troops for 
ninety days, to put down a rebellion declared to 
exist in certain states. 

The Northern States, in hypocritical frenzy over 
the usurpation of New England's prerogative rights 
to Secessioyi, responded to Lincoln's call. 

The States of North Carolina; Virginia; Arkansas; 
Missouri; and Tennessee joined the other States 
in refusing to furnish troops for coercion. Dele- 
gates were appointed from all the seceding States to 
meet in Montgomery, Alabama. They met: and a 
Constitution was adopted, modelled after the Con- 
stitution of the United States. 

31 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

By this body Senator Jefferson Davis, of Missis- 
sippi, was elected President of the Confederate 
States of America. The Confederate Congress called 
on the seceding States for certain quotas of troops to 
repel invasion. 

It was thought at the time, that the South was 
peculiarly fortunate in having as President a man 
who was at once a Statesman and trained soldier. 
Mr. Davis was a graduate of West Point; had seen 
service on the Plains as an officer in the United 
States Army, and had distinguished himself in the 
Mexican War. He made a record at Buena Vista, 
as Colonel of the 1st Mississippi Rifles: afterwards 
as Secretary of War during Pierce's Administration. 
He had always been conservative. As a debater and 
parliamentarian he had stood in the United States 
Senate in significant prominence. 

Certain border-states, especially Virginia, Ken- 
tucky and North Carolina, were trying to prevent 
the disruption of the Union: and to secure peace. 
The Virginia Legislature refused to call a state Con- 
vention, but called a "Peace Convention," to meet in 
Washington in December; inviting delegates from 
every state in the Union. 

The Peace Convention met. Twenty-one States 
were represented. The effort failed. Why? Be- 
cause of the opposition of the abolitionists; — led 
principally by Horace Greely, editor of the New 
York Tribune, and Abraham Lincoln, President- 
elect of the United States. 

In the meantime, the Union men of the South 
were doing all they could to stem the tide, and stay 
disruption. The above-mentioned States with Mis- 
souri, Tennessee, Arkansas, were still standing fast 
for the Union. 

The efforts and procedures of the different States 
were much the same. The action of North Car- 
olina may be mentioned as showing how rapidly 
events advanced and policies changed. 

32 



THE CALL TO ARMS 

On a vote for delegates to meet in Convention, 
North Carolina elected eighty-two Union men and 
thirty-eight Secessionists ; and the popular vote was 
against secession. On the 12th of April, hostilities 
commenced at Charleston. On the 15th of April, Lin- 
coln issued his proclamation for coercion; calling 
on each state for her quota of the required seventy- 
five thousand troops. On the 17th of April, Gover- 
nor Kllis of North Carolina, who had heen strug- 
gling for the Union cause, issued his patriotic re- 
joinder; and called the Legislature to meet in 
snecial session the 1st of May. On the 18th of April, 
tho leading union paper of the state contained the 
following editorial: 

"It is needless to remind our readers how hon- 
estly and earnestly we have lahored to presf^rve our 
once great, ^orlorious and beneficent Union. But with 
all these opinions unchanged, there is a change in 
the condition of affairs: a change with which 
neither we, nor the people of North Carolina, have 
or had, ausrht to do: and over which we have no 
control. President Lincoln's Proclamation is "the 
last feather that breaks the camel's back." It 
proves that the professions of peace were a delu- 
sion and a cheat. A Civil war, whose end no 
man can see, is upon us. We can see notbina: for 
our country but woe, woe, v/oe; Thank God. we 
can say that we have labored for peace; with no 
wish but to avert dire calamities in a way honora-. 
ble to both sections." 

North Carolina declarp'd for the Union on Fobru- 
arv ?8tb, but was an armed camp for res'sfanc.^ 
+o invasion in less than fifty days later: — Apnl 18th. 
On Ma-" ?,'^rd., this state without AvaitincT for the 
fr^vvo of a legal secession, hurried her regiments to 

G-^noval Scott had plann'^d to iuvadn Viro^inia bv 
'''^vv tine"^. of approach: from Wf^shinficton • from 
Fopfppc-Q Monroo; from Harper's Ferrv: and from 
Ohio by the Kanawa river into West Virginia. 

33 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Fortress Monroe was the obvious one. There, Gen. 
Ben Butler was sent with a brigade which included 
the crack Seventh Regiment of New York City. 

The first North Carolina Regiment (Colonel D. H. 
Hill) — pronounced by military critics, as it march- 
ed through Richmond, "the best regiment ever 
seen," was sent to Yorktown. Colonel Hill occu- 
pied a point between Yorktown and Fortress Mon- 
aroe, known as Big Bethel Church. 

On the 6th of June, Butler with his brigade and a 
regular battery, attacked Hill; and was defeated. 
Hill had with him Randolph's Virginia Battery; 
which, on the approach of the Federals, opened on 
them. A shell from one of the howitzers struck the 
head of the advancing column— 7th New York — 
killing a man. The regiment was thrown into con- 
fusion, and disappeared in the swamp. Hill had 
only one man killed : Wyatt, of the Edgecomb Com- 
pany. He was the first Confederate killed in the 
Civil War. 

Tn the hour of disruption the Old North State had 
clung to the Union. Driven into war by the acts of 
the United States Government, North Carolina's 
troops were destined to open the conflict. This 
Stato furnished one-fifth of the South's army in 
the Civil War. Official history shows that at Appo- 
mattox North Carolina mustered more men bear- 
ing arms than any other Confederate State. 

When Joseph E. Brown called for volunteers to 
fill Georgia's quota of twelve months troops for Con- 
federate service, companies responded promptly: 
were ordered into camps of instruction; and formed 
into regiments. 

John B. Gordon was then operating a coal mine 
on Raccoon Mountain in Dade County, Georgia. At 
the first summons he raised a company, the "Rac- 
coon Roughs," composed largely of miners and 
r'^'^nnfrtinoers. 

The Gordons were our neighbors and intimates. 
My cousin, Dr. Jas. Le Conte had married Miss 

34 



THE CALL TO ARMS 

Mary Gordon, and had a summer home near the 
brow of the Raccoon Mountains, overlooking the 
Tennessee river. 

I offered io enhst w^ith Gordon: but he advised 
me to raise a company. In that v^ay I could be of 
more service to the Confederacy. 

Gordon was then about twenty-seven: tall and 
handsome. He was a brilliant orator: but without 
military education. By nature, he was a comman- 
der among men. Amid his mountain surround- 
ings he suggested Rhoderick Dhu. 

And the crags of old Lookout called across the 
beautiful valley to the beetling clifTs of Raccoon. 

"Shall we not mate the mountain and the man? 
The Granite Dome and the great Georgian;" 

Gordon was a graduate of the University of Geor- 
gia. He studied law; and practiced as a partner of 
his brother-in-law, Logan F. Bleckly; who, after 
the war, was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 
of Georgia. Preferring other pursuits to his pro- 
fession, he was in charge of his father's coal-mine 
at Castle Rock, when hostilities were at hand. 

In '60 and '61 T was not infrequently a visitor at 
Ihe home of the Gordon's. Their domestic life was 
idoni; Christian principle was its corner-stone. Gen- 
f^rol and Mrs. Gordon were both fond of field sports, 
and spent much time in the saddle. Both were mu- 
sicians. How well I remember the familiar old 
songs of that day, which we loved to sing; "The 
Lone Rock By Thp Sea" is linked in my memory 
with thp music of Mrs. Gordon's piano. 

Gordon's military ardor was shared by his wife. 
F:Oc\) time that he was wounded, she was vi^ith him 
quickly. 

Gordon infused wonderful courage into the mul- 
titude. As a soldier and legislator he was eminent. 
Too OTPat a man to give rigid attention to commer- 
ciel rhitips, hv wns not n money-maker. 

Aftnr the war his bier onterprisns which did not 
enrich him, aided in developing the state. He en- 

35 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

tered the army solely to defend the South, and to 
uphold the constitutional rights guaranteed to his 
native state. He did not think himself a military 
genius : nor dream of military glory. He was satis- 
fied to command well his "Raccoon Roughs". That 
he rose to his subsequent military prominence — the 
command of one wing of Lee's army — was an out- 
come of the great struggle which developed men 
equal to emergent conditions. 

As no regiment was forming in Georgia, Gor- 
don took his command to Montgomery, Ala- 
bama, and joined in the organization of the 
sixth Alabama infantry. He was elected major, 
and his brother Gus Gordon, became captain of the 
company. In the meantime another company com- 
manded by Captain John G Hanna went into ser- 
vice from Dade County and served gallantly until 
the surrender as Company "A" Sixth Georgia In- 
fantry: a regiment commanded by Col Alfred H. 
Colquitt; who was afterwards promoted to the com- 
mand of his brigade. 

I soon raised my Company consisting of eighty- 
five men, who elected their officers as follows: 
J. C. Nisbet. Captain, Stock Farm 
Charles B. Easley, 1st Lt Stock Farm 
Isaac Hicks, 2nd Lt. Merchant 
Frank Daniels, 2nd Lt Sheriff 
Leonidas Evans, 1st Serart. Blacksmith 
Georere W. Boulden. 2nd Sergt. College Student 
J Weslpy Blevins, 3rd Sergt. Farmer 
Sam'l C. Lowery 4th Sergt Teacher. 
The usual number of Corporals wer^ anpointed 
and the Company met for drill each Sroturdav 
through the months of May and June at Easley's 
Store. I had notified Governor Brown that my 
nomnanv was ready to report to the "camp of in- 
struction" and was informed that othf^r comDanies 
were ahf^ad of mine, that I would have to wait. It 
took a political null in thos^ earlv days of '61 to 
get off to war. I should have used my father's in- 

36 



THE CALL TO ARMS 

fluence. Later it was not so hard to get on the fir- 
ing line." 

The uniforms of gray, made to order, had 
been shipped by E. Winship, Macon, Georgia, 
for which I paid. The bowie knives, scabbards and 
belts had been finished in Colonel Ben Easley's 
shops at his expense, and presented to the company. 

The Clans were gathering in the Virginia valley, and 
at Manassas. And now, when we met at "Easley's" 
to drill, uniformed and armed Cap-a-pie (as we 
thought) the company was still more impatient to 
get off and have a chance for glory before the war 
should end. In the meantime, I received a letter 
from my friend, Algernon Hamilton, of Rome, Geor- 
gia, (already mentioned) saying that he had raised 
a company in Floyd County and would take it at 
once to Richmond Virginia to form a regiment: 
under orders received from Major Daniel S Printup 
of Rome and Capt. James Morrison of Cedartown, 
Georgia 

I offered my Company to Printup. It was 
accepted, and ordered to proceed to Richmond at 
once. There was no Post Quartermaster at Chatta- 
nooga. I wired Alexander H. Stephens to send me 
transportation. He answered, "Capt. J. C. Nisbet: 
Report at Richmond with your company at once; 
very urgent. (Signed) A. H. Stephens, Vice- 
President." 

I marched my Company at once to Lookout Sta- 
tion, N. & C. Railroad, where we had a flag presenta- 
tion, and enjoyed a bountiful dinner furnished by 
the citizens of the neighborhood. 

In the afternoon we went in to Chattanooga on 
the N. & C, train. This was on the 21st of July, 
1861. That night we read of the victory at Manas- 
sas. Chattanooga then was a village, with no fa- 
cilities for feeding my men. The young Confeder- 
ate Government had not yet established Commissary 
or Quartermaster Departments. We had no cook- 
ing utensils. 

4 37 i 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

The Grutchfield House stood across the street from 
the N. & G. passenger depot, on the lot where tlie 
Read House now stands. I requested my friend, 
Tom Grutchfield, the proprietor, to feed my men, 
offering to pay him in gold. He said: "I will not 
feed common soldiers." 

A short time before President Davis had stopped 
there on his way to Richmond, and by request 
made a brief speech to the soldiers and citi- 
zens assembled in the office. Mr. William Grutch- 
field (a brother of Tom) was present, and jumping 
up on the counter replied to Mr. Davis in a rather 
violent way. The newspapers had reported the inci- 
dent as an insult to President Davis; so just at this 
crucial moment, although we had been friends, I 
was not in a very good humor with the Grutchfields. 
After the war our friendship was renewed, and I 
had the pleasure of visiting Mr. Tom Grutchfield and 
family at their beautiful farm, Amnicola. And 
often met the Hon. Wm. Grutchfield, who ably 
represented the Ghattanooga district in the United 
States Gongress, The incident I am about to relate, 
however, was never referred to. 

After Grutchfield's refusal, I went over to the 
Depot and called my Gompany to attention, and 
said that I would march them over to the hotel when 
the "gong" sounded for supper; that they could take 
seats at the tables and eat, but they must preserve 
order. 

Each man was armed with the aforesaid bowie 
knives, worn in leather scabbards. The men, uni- 
formed in gray, presented a good appearance. The 
Lieutenants were uniformed in home-made blue 
jeans. My uniform was of regular United States 
Army blue, tailor-made; a present (with my sword 
and belt) from my sister, Mrs. George H. Hazel- 
hurst, of Macon, Georgia, who was spending that 
summer on Lookout Mountain. 

/When the gong sounded the Gompany was 
marched into the dining room and a sergeant de- 

38 



THE CALL TO ARMS 

tailed to see that the cooks and waiters got a move 
on them. That was one time the "little pot was 
put in the big one at the Grutchfield House!" And, 
also, that was one time when the obsessive bowie 
knives were not inutile. 

I offered to pay Mr. Grutchfield for the meal he 
"did coldly furnish forth" to the Georgia Volunteers; 
but he refused to accept my money; and was quite 
hot about the whole transaction. 

The Company was marched over to the depot, and 
boarded the East Tennessee and Virginia passenger, 
for Bristol. When the conductor came round for 
the tickets I showed him the telegram from Vice- 
president Stephens, saying that I had no transporta- 
tion, as there was no Quartermaster at Chattanooga. 
I was certain I could secure it at Bristol, on arrival. 
He said this would not do. I must pay him then 
and there, or the Company would be put off the 
train. I had the money in my pocked, but thought 
the boys would need it when we got to Richmond. 
I told him the news from Manassas had just 
reached us; we were needed in Virginia. And I 
ordered the Company to keep their seats. The train 
proceeded. 

When the conductor came into the ladies' car 
again he was less aggressive, some of the men hav- 
ing threatened to throw him and his brakeman off 
the train. 

"Say, Cap," said he, "you know I must have some 
sort of a showing." "Yes," I said, "you keep quiet 
until we reach Bristol, then I will march the Com- 
pany to the Quartermaster's - office, and get you 
transportation for eighty-five men and the officers." 
This was done, and at the same time I got trans- 
portation to Richmond, and drew rations for the 
men. 

At Bristol we saw the first wounded soldiers. They 
were members of the 7th and 8th Georgia Regi- 
ments; Bartow's Brigade passing through to their 
homes, from Manassas, or Bull Run. 

39 



VII. 

"THE TWENTY-FIRST GA." 

Arriving at Richmond, we were met by a courier 
and escorted to the Fair Grounds, where all the other 
Companies, but one, had preceded us. The 21st 
Georgia Infantry was then organized and mustered 
into service "for three years; or, during the war," 

The Line Officers recommended as Field OfTicers 
for the Regiment those whose names are appended. 
They were duly commissioned by the War Depart- 
ment : 

Col. Jno. T. Mercer, First Lieutenant Dragoons U. 
S. Army, Polk County, Ga.; Lieutenant Colonel Jas. 
J. Morrison, ex-Gapt. U. S. army, Polk County, Ga.; 
Maj. Thos. W. Hooper, U. S. Navy, Cass (Bartow 
County), Ga. 

Hooper was first appointed Adjutant, but Alex- 
ander Wallace, of Atlanta, and Printup, of Rome, 
selected alternately for Major of the Regiment; not 
accepting, Hooper was appointed Major. Thomas J. 
Verdery, of Augusta, Ga., who was First Lieutenant 
of Capt. Borders' Polk County Company, was made 
Adjutant. 

Col. Mercer had resigned his commission. First 
Lieutenant U. S. Dragoons, and come on to Rich- 
mond from the Plains. He was a tall, handsome 
man, and a brave officer. Educated at West Point, 
he had seen considerable service in the UnitedStates 
Army, and would have attained high rank had it 
not been for booze, the bane of the old Army. 

Lieutenant Colonel Jas. J. Morrison, formerly 
Captain U. S. Cavalry, was from Kentucky. He 
had married into a prominent Polk County, 

40 



THE TWENTY-FIRST GEORGIA 

Georgia, family, and resigned from the service 
to look after his large planting interests. He 
served with us until March, 1862, when he 
received orders to raise a Cavalry Regiment in 
Georgia. He raised and commanded the First 
Georgia Cavalry; was promoted Brigadier. He 
had command of a brigade of Cavalry under Major 
General Joe Wheeler. Major Thos. W. Hooper was 
a Lieutenant in the United States Navy when the 
war commenced. Col. Mercer was killed at Ply- 
mouth, North Carolina, and Hooper was promoted 
Colonel and served with distinction until the sur- 
render. For a long time after the war he practicpd 
law in Arkansas, and there died. 

Adjutant Thos. J. Verdery made a fine ofTicoj"; 
handsome, urbane and efficient. He was killed at 
First Fredericksburg. Capt. Thos. G. Glover, Gonr- 
pany "A," raised his company at Campbellton, 
Georgia; was at the time a physician of large prac- 
tice. He was first promoted Major and afterwards 
Lieutenant Colonel, when Hooper was promoted 
Colonel. After surviving several severe wounds, he 
was killed in the second battle of Winchester. Vir- 
ginia, September 19th, 1864, in what is said to have 
been his 107th engagement. 

We claim it to be a fact that the 21st Georgia 
was in more engagements than any other Regi- 
ment, and Major Glover always commanded the 
skirmish line, which accounts for the above re- 
markable statement. At any rate, I believe he was 
in more fights, that is, oftener actually on the firing 
line, than any other man. 

Chas. Camp, Assistant U. S. District Attorney, 
served as a private in Glover's Company "A," 
21st Georgia Regiment. In his history of the 
Regiment published as a part of the history 
of the "Dole's-Cook Brigade," he says: "On'^ 
important fact should be recorded here: Of all 
the regiments engaged in the war between the states, 
North and South, the 21st Georgia was third in num- 

41 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

ber of men killed and wounded in battle. The regi- 
ment that lost the greatest number was the 8th New 
York and they were killed and wounded by the 21st 
Georgia." "Lieutenant Colonel Thos. J. Glover was 
to the 21st Georgia what Stonewall Jackson was to 
his Corps." The other regimental officers were: 

Gapt. D. M. Hood, A. Q. M., (a very efficient offi- 
cer), Rome, Georgia. 

Capt. R. 0. Barrett, Commissariat, Rome, Georgia, 

Dr. Cicero Holt, Surgeon, Virginia. 

Dr. Louis E. Gott, Surgeon, Fall's Church, Vir- 
ginia. 

Dr. LeGrand Capers, Surgeon of the U. S. Army, 
Charleston, South Carolina. 

Dr. A. E. McGarrity, Assistant Surgeon. 

Dr. W. F. DeWitt, Assistant Surgeon, Georgia. 

Dr. C. E. Cowherd, Assistant Surgeon, Virginia, 

The Regiment always had the very best medical 
attention. The above named served at different 
times, as only two surgeons were allowed to a Regi- 
ment at a time. 

Space will not permit me to give the names of 
every one of these gallant heroes, therefore I can 
only give the Companies and their original Com- 
manders. 

"A," Cambell County, Capt. T. C, Glover. 

"B," Floyd County, Capt. A. S. Hamilton. 

"C," Fulton County, Gapt. J. S. Waddail. 

"D," Polk County, Capt. S. A. Borders. 

"E," Floyd County, Capt. J. R. Hart. 

"F," Troup County, Capt. J. T. Boykin. 

"G," Gordon County, Gapt, Wesley Kinman. 

"H," Dade County,' Capt. J. C. Nisbet. 

"I," Stewart County, Capt. Mike Lynch. 

"K," Chattooga County, Capt. J. B. Akridge, 

"E," , Capt. Edward Smith. 

This latter Company was assigned to the Rtjgi- 
ment after Capt. Hart's Company "E" was trans- 
ferred to Cavalry. Capt, Smith was in command of 
the Regiment at the surrender. After Adjt. Verdery 

42 



THE TWENTY-FIRST GEORGIA 

was killed at First Fredericksburg, Gapt. Lee F. 
Blakewell, by request, was assigned to the Regiment 
as Adjutant. He was a very gallant and efficient 
officer. 

The History of the Dole's-Gook Brigade says of 
him: "Lee F. Blakewell was born at Cincinnati, 
Ohio, July 30th, 1829. In 1849 he went to New 
Orleans and clerked in a commission house until 
the war began. He was foreman of the Volunteer 
Hook and Ladder Company of the New Orleans Fire 
Department. He was a member of the noted Wash- 
ington Artillery of New Orleans, and remained with 
that command until after the battle of Shiloh, when 
he was elected Captain of the La Zouaves of Wheat's 
Battalion of "Tigers." 

When Wheat was killed at First Cold-Harbor, 
his Battalion having been nearly annihilated 
was disbanded, and Gapt. Blakewell was as- 
signed to the 21st Georgia. He was killed at 
Fort Steadman, Petersburg, Virginia, March 25th, 
1865. He had a sixty days' furlough in his pocket, 
but refused to leave while the Regiment was daily 
fighting. 

A more courteous gentleman, or braver man, 
never lived. Gapt, Michael Lynch, Company 
I," was promoted Major April 18th, 1864. He, like 
most Irishmen, was a born soldier and a very effi- 
cient officer. He surrendered with Lee, and is now 
living near Atlanta, engaged in the dairy business. 

A biographical history of all the officers of thi^ 
gallant Regiment should be written and preserved 
in the Archives of Georgia. I can mention the deeds 
of only a small number. 

However, I shall, as we proceed, make particular 
reference to one, a soldier of especial prominence. 
Our close association before and during the Civil 
War and after, enables me to embody in these pages 
a sketch of the military and Civil life of Col. Alger- 
non Sydney Hamilton, of Rome, Georgia. Of him 
it might be said in the words of General Nathaniel 

43 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Greene's tribute to Colonel Howard, of Maryland: 
"His memory should be perpetuated as the Greeks 
preserved the memory of their heroes; in a statue 
of gold!" 

After the 21st Georgia Regiment was organized, 
we drilled in the New Fair Grounds. I was not 
very proficient in "Hardee's Tactics." A sergeant 
of the 1st Kentucky Infantry, by permission of his 
officers, was employed to drill my Company and 
their officers daily, for which service I paid liberally'' 
I went into the ranks with a musket, and was obe- 
dient unto the drillmaster's orders. 

He was a big, fine-looking fellow from Louisville, 
'Kentucky, onto his job, and a strict disciplinarian. 

My country boys held him in great awe. After- 
wards, when they had become veterans of many 
campaigns, — heroes of a hundred fights, — I hoard 
them say that never at any time did they feel half 
as scared of the "Yanks," as they were of that re- 
doubtable sergeant, who would slap a raw recruit 
on the stomach, with his sword, did the r. r. stick 
out that member instead of his chest, at the com- 
mand: "Right dress! Assume the position of a 
soldier!" 

He stuck hay and straw in the mouths of 
their brogans, that they might not mistake the right 
foot for the left, in marking time. Instead of order- 
ing: "Mark time! Right. Left. Hep, hep!" he'd 
say, "Mark time! Hay- foot! Straw- foot!" Hep, 
hep: ketch the step!" and woe to the poor fellow 
who lost it, and kicked a front-rank man on the 
shins. And oh, the fierceness of his eye when he 
caught a man in the ranks slyly scratching, and 
knocking mosquitoes off his nose. It is almost im- 
possible to give a fine military deportment to a com- 
pany of country plow-boys. Their work fixes their 
carriage; their muscles "gang their ain gait"; they 
have yokel postures. But they submit to discipline, 
learn to drill, and, in fact, make the best soldiers, on 
the march, and in the fight. 

44 



THE TWENTY-FIRST GEORGIA 

Who has not heard the famous military com- 
mand: "Gentlemen of the Banks County Guard! 
Will you please shoulder arms?" Then and there, 
was this unique order issued. The 2nd Georgia In- 
fantry was camped on the Fair Grounds. Its Com- 
panies were all well drilled, save one, the Banks 
County Guards, commanded by old Captain Cand- 
ler, a gentleman of the old school, and a planter. 
His company was composed of his old neighbors' 
sons, his personal friends and social equals. He 
could not bring himself to speak to such as these 
abruptly. Unfamiliar with military manoeuvres 
the good old Captain often got the Guards "tangled 
up" with other Companies. So, one day, he deter- 
mined to move his men outside on the commons, 
where they might have more "elbow-room." They 
were marching in line. He, facing them, was back- 
stopping as they approached the gate, opening on 
the commons. "By the right-flank, file left!" did 
not occur to the Captain. The advancing columns 
soon had him jammed up against the fence. He 
hastily ordered, "Gentlemen of the Banks County 
Guards! Will you please halt?" They halted. Said 
he: "Gentlemen, we will now take a recess of ten 
minutes. Break ranks! and when you "fall in," 
you will please reform on the other side of the 
fence." 

The Candler family is numerous and influential 
in Georgia. Capt. Candler's son, Allen D. Candler, 
who lost an eye in the service, was a gallant soldier. 
After the War he jumped into politics, and was sent 
to Congress. His political soubriquet was "the one- 
eyed plow-boy of Pigeon-Roost." He was twice 
Governor of Georgia, and after his last term com- 
piled a "Colonial History of Georgia." 

The 2nd Georp;ia Infantry was commanded by 
Colonel Paul J. Semmes, West-Pointer. He was a 
brother of Admiral Raphael Semmes. After resign- 
in.'T fi'oni the U. S. Army, Col. Semmes practiced law 
in Columbus, Georgia. He was Captain of the Col- 

45 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

umbus Guards, one of the crack Companies of the 
State, and of his regiment. He was soon promoted 
Brigadier-General and made a brilliant record. 
Semmes' Georgia Brigade was as good as the best. 
General Semmes was killed at Gettysburg. 

There were many other commands encamped on 
the New Fair Grounds. One of these was a regiment 
of Creoles : Colonel Camillio J. Polignac. He was a 
thorough military man. His troops, always ad- 
dressed in French, were very admirably drilled, 
moving like clock-work. 

My country boys had never been far from their 
valley homes before. They didn't realize there were 
so many people, un-American people at that in the 
world. Nor did they dream that any language but 
English was in working use in the United States. 
To them the sight of soldiers who understood 
French was a spectacle. They listened in wonder to 
Colonel Polignac on "Battalion Drill." 

"That-thur furriner he calls out er lot er gibber- 
ish, an them-thur Dagoes jes manuevers-up like 
Hell — beatin'— tan-bark ! Jes' like he wuz talkin' 
sense!" said one of my mountaineers. 

At that moment the tongues of all the coun- 
tries of Europe were used in drilling countless 
regiments composing the Yankee Army! After- 
wards, Col. Polignac was promoted Brigadier and 
assigned to the "Trans-Mississippi Department." 
General Dick Taylor says : "I assigned him to 
the command of a Texas Brigade who swore 
that "a dam-frog-eating Frenchman whose name 
they could not pronounce, and whose orders 
were as Greek to them, should not command them," 
and mutiny was threatened. I promised, if they 
were still dissatisfied after a conflict with the enemy, 
I would give them another Commander. In the first 
week of 1864, the enemy sent a gunboat expedition 
up the Washita. The expedition was defeated and 
boats driven off. Polignac. by his judgment and 
coolness under fire, gained the confidence and 

46 



THE TWENTY-FIRST GEORGIA 

respect of his men; he made capital soldiers out of 
that Brigade, who over afterwards swore by him." 

After surrender, General Polignac returned to 
Europe, but he did not take part with France against 
Germany in 1867. He was "persona non grata" 
with Louis Napoleon, and retired to his estate at 
Rodmansdorf, Podwein, Austria, where he was still 
living at last accounts. 

August 1st we were ordered to Manassas, and 
on our march to Fairfax Court House, passed over 
the battle field. Signs of the conflict were still vis- 
ible, especially about the "Henry House." 

We halted to view the spot where Jackson's 
Virginia Brigade made their remarkable stand, 
and won for their comm.ander and themselves 
the soubriquet "Stonewall," which will be linked 
with their names throughout the ages, or until, in 
the phrase of Garlyle, "the Eskimo shall sit on Lon- 
don Bridge and sketch the ruins of St. Paul's!" 

Little then did we thinli that it would be our good 
luck to share the fortunes of this "gray-eyed man of 
destiny," Stonewall Jackson, until his glorious sun 
set in his crowning victory at Ghancellorsville. 

Gen. Bee, as he rallied his Brigade that had been 
driven back, said: "Rally men! There stands Jack- 
son like a stone wall." Here Bee was killed, and 
here Bartow fell, as he formed his Georgia Brigade 
on Jackson, for that supreme effort which broke 
the Federal lines, capturing Rickett's and Griffin's 
Batteries and stampeding the Federal Army. (In 
this charge Gol. Fisher, of the 6th N. G. Regiment, 
was killed. ) This, with the help of Elzey's Brigade, 
which came up just in the nick of time. President 
Jefferson Davis, who had at that moment reached 
the field, said : "The gallant Elzey was the Blucher 
of the day." 

We passed over the "Stone Bridge," where the 
Warrenton Pike crosses ^ull Run on its way to Cen- 
terville. Just above this bridge Sherman's division 
forded, and got on tixe flank of Evans', Bee's and 

47 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Bartow's Brigades, driving them back in disorder. 

It was thought that Beauregard was outgen- 
eralled here. Many of his Regiments were held 
at Mansassas Junction on account of the Fed- 
eral feint near there, on the 20th and 21st, at 
Blackburn's ford; and the battle was only saved by 
the arrival of some of General Joseph E. Johnston's 
Brigade from the valley of Virginia. The victory 
was complete, but there was very little advantage 
realized. The forces actually engaged numbered, 
Federal, thirty-four thousand; Confederate, thirteen 
thousand. General Johnston being the senior in 
rank, took command after the battle and ordered 
pursuit. President Davis, however, as commander- 
in-chief, ordered the pursuit stopped. On account, 
it was said, of the exhaustion and confusion of his 
army; and it was also said, it was because he be- 
lieved the North would be willing to let us "go in 
peace," if Washington was not attacked. 

I know this was the opinion of many at 
the time. It was well known that Davis and 
Johnston were not on friendly terms. How o ften 
trivial matters determine big events. During 
Pierce's administration, Davis was secretary of 
war and afterwards during Buchanan's admin- 
istration he was a senator from Mississippi. 
Joe Johnston was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the 
United States Army, stationed at Washington, 
acting Quartermaster General, with the brevet 
rank of Brigadier General. The wives of these man 
were social leaders. There was social jealousy be- 
tween them, which culminated in hostility. Each 
husband espoused the cause of his wife, conse- 
quently Davis and Johnston were not on speaking 
terms. It has been charged that Davis always cher- 
ished this feeling of dislike, and could not realize 
Johnston's ability, or do him justice, and that he 
•gave him command only in obedience to public 
■opinion and the clamor of the army. 

48 



THE TWENTY-FIRST GEORGIA 

There were two Brigades at Blackburn's Ford 
which had not been engaged; one commanded 
by Brigadier General Bonham, the other by Brig- 
adier General James Longstreet, the former be- 
ing the senior officer. Longstreet, in his me- 
moirs, says : "General Bonham was ordered to 
march these brigades to Genterville and attack 
the enemy there, who were only one Brigade 
strong, commanded by Brigadier General Miles. 
Bonham halted before reaching Genterville, say- 
ing the fight was going on all right, and he 
was afraid of jeopardizing things in case he 
failed. So, in spite of my urging, he would not 
attack." If Bonham had carried out his orders, 
Beauregard's tactics here perhaps would not have 
been subjected to so much adverse criticism. The 
small Federal force at Genterville were said to have 
been in a state of panic on account of the fugitives 
from the battlefield and probably would not have 
successfully resisted twice their numbers of men, 
inspired by the news of victory; and then the way 
of Federal retreat would have been closed. The 
Cavalry force available was small, but there were 
many Begiments of Infantry which had not been 
engaged. These troops, by swift pursuit, could have 
captured at least many more prisoners, artillery, 
teams and supplies, not to mention Congressmen 
and their ladies. 

General Bichard Taylor, who arrived on the 
field just after the battle closed, says: "There 
can be little question that with one strong 
'brigade of soldiers Johnston could have gone into 
Washington and Baltimore." There is no doubt 
that confusion reigned in the Confederate camps 
that night after the battle, but Napoleon held that 
"No matter how great the confusion and exhaustion 
of a victorious Army might be, the defeated one 
must be a hundred-fold worse, and action should 
be based on this." 

49 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

By the same token, Bragg should have listened 
to Forrest and Longstreet, and followed into Chatta- 
nooga (by the Chattanooga-Valley Road) that Sun- 
day night after Thomas retreated from Snodgrass 
Hill to Rossville. 

The first battles and skirmishes of the Civil War 
demonstrated that as an untrained soldier the 
Southerner was a better fighter than the North- 
erner, for many reasons. His early environments 
made him self-T-eliant and dominating, a practiced 
horseman and skilled in the use of fire-arms. How- 
ever, patient instruction and discipline of the North- 
ern troops finally tended to equalize differences. 

The country squires, under Prince Rupert and the 
Duke of Newcastle, at first rode rough-shod over 
the Yeomanry of England's Eastern counties and 
swept the London train-bands from the field. But 
fiery, impetuous valor was at last overmatched by 
the disciplined purpose and stubborn constancy of 
Cromwell's "Iron-sides." 

Colonel John S. Mosby says : "General E. P. Alex- 
ander, who was serving on Beauregard's staff that 
day, in the battle of First Manassas, told me that 
Johnston and Beauregard made no efYort to cross 
Bull Run with Infantry in pursuit, and stopped the 
pursuit of the Cavalry." He adds: "Dr. Edward 
Campbell, a Brigade surgeon, informed me that he 
was dressing Jackson's wounded hand at a field 
hospital soon after the Federal retreat began, when 
Jackson said: 'I wonder if Generals Johnston and 
Beauregard know how badly the enemy are 
whipped ! If they will let me, I'll march my Brigade 
into Washington tonight!' " General Alexander 
heard the same declaration made by Jackson to 
President Davis on the battlefield. 

Edwin M. Stanton wrote to ex-President James 
Buchanan July 26, five days after the battle: 
"The capture of Washington now seems to be inev- 
itable. During the whole of Monday and Tuesday 
it might have been taken without resistance. The 

SO 



THE TWENTY-FIRST GEORGIA 

rout, overthrow, and demoralization of the Army is 
complete." 

Thus early was begun the policy of frittering 
away the fruits of Southern valor! 

General Joseph E. Johnston was probably the 
most accomplished and skillful soldier of the strug- 
gle. But he was always at a disadvantage for want 
of support from Richmond. There was much crit- 
icism because greater results did not come of the 
Bull Run victory. Johnson assumed the responsi- 
biirty, saying this was because he did not have sufTi- 
cient Cavalry on the field. Having served under 
his command and studied his methods, I feel assured 
that Johnston's great abilities, under happier condi- 
tions, would have distinctly modified if they had 
not mastered the movements of events. 

We arrived in the vicinity of Fairfax Court house 
and pitched our tents on a field we called "Camp 
Toombs" for the illustrious Georgian. There we 
drilled in the August sun, and disciplined our men 
as nearly as possible to the standard of regulars. 

Many of our men fell ill, and there were deaths 
not a few from typhoid fever, as is usual with un- 
seasoned troops. One night when the Regiment was 
on picket duty — we were in sight of Washington 
and close to the enemy's pickets — there was an 
alarm. Muftled drums beat the "long-roll." Each 
company fell into line promptly, with orders to 
keep very quiet. 

Colonel Mercer was inspecting cartridge boxes to 
see, personally, that every man had forty rounds 
of dry ammunition. When he reached my Com- 
pany, a tall, lank fellow named Hawkins threw his 
hand back to open his cartridge-box, whereupon 
an old hen he had tied to his belt gave an unearthly 
squawk. Everybody laughed, which relieved the 
dreadful suspense, but I was chagrined at making 
such a bad showing on our first alarm, and repri- 
manded him severely. I wanted to redeem myself 
in the opinion of our West-Point Colonel, so I said 

51 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

further to the soldier: "Here, sir, we are on the eve 
of a battle. Wouldn't you make a pretty spectacle 
lying shot on the field, with that ancient fowl, 
squawking, and flapping all over you?" He 
answered, "Oh ! No, Captain, I'll live to crack her 
old bones yit." He did live, to finally desert, and 
join the enemy's home-guard at home, where he 
helped plunder my stock farm. 

Before he deserted, however, I got him into three 
fights by putting him in a file with good men and 
ordering them to watch him, and see that he did not 
drop out. At Winchester he was sent with the can- 
teens for water, and did not return. After the fight 
he caught up, and had a big tale to tell about get- 
ting lost from the Regiment, and going into the 
battle with the Louisiana Brigade, so when we were 
going into battle at Gross-Keyes, I placed him in 
a file of three good men, and ordered them to get 
him into the fight. I would not let him stop on any 
excuse. When the firing commenced, he started 
back. I grabbed him by the collar and ordered him 
forward, threatening to shoot him. He said, "Gap- 
tain, my gun's stopped up." In the meantime a 
charge was ordered. I sprang before my company, 
and, he seeing that the enemy was in retreat, rushed 
ahead and it was all I could do to keep him fromj 
bayoneting the poor Germans who lay before us. 
There were a few such men in most every Gompany. 

In the meantime I was getting acquainted with 
the oflicers of the regiment. In the arrangement of 
the camp, Gompany "E" was adjacent to my Gom- 
pany, "H." After supper, all duties over, the men 
would loll around on the grass, in the twilight. 

Talk and laugh, wrestle and play games ;and some- 
times "cuss" in their sport. I had noticed that the 
captain of Gompany "E," before his men were dis- 
missed after roll call at night, required them all to 
kneel in prayer. He had been their preacher at 
Sardis church, Floyd Gounty, Georgia. Most of his 
men were members of that church or the sons of 

52 



THE TWENTY-FIRST GEORGIA 

members. They had elected the Rev. Hart their cap- 
tain, and he was for keeping them in the straight 
and narrow way, war or no war. After a few days, 
he sauntered over to see me. I invited him to take 
a camp stool. We talked about the R'egiment, the 
war and one thing and another. Finally he said: 
"Captain Nisbet, you have a man in your company 
I want you to put in the guard house." "Why?" I 
asked. He said, "The man insulted me by using pro- 
fane language in my hearing and you know that the 
Army regulations make that a punishable offense." 
I said, "If the man was over on his own Company 
ground and did not curse you, I decline to punisft 
him." He carried his complaint to Col. Mercer, who, 
although a very strict "West Pointer," declined to 
interfere, saying, "Most all good, lively soldiers will 
'cuss' a little at times." "It may be," he observed, 
"that fellow Hart is most too good to hold out!" 

Soon after, our preacher-captain, unable to endure 
swearing soldiers, said he was sick, and was sent 
back to Sudley Church hospital. One of my men 
returned to camp and reported that Gapt. Hart was 
staying at a farm house near the hospital and got 
into trouble about playing off as a single man, and 
engaging himself to the daughter of the farmer. The 
girl's father, having found out from some of Hart's 
men that he had a wife and kids at home, it got too 
warm there for the preacher, and so he turned up at 
camp. 

In the meantime Hart had obtained an order from 
Richmond to raise a Cavalry Regiment in Georgia, 
and he and his company soon left us, and we heard 
no more about his courtship. We will hear of him 
again as Colonel of the 6th Georgia Cavalry. 

With most of the Southern soldiers there was 
from the start a disposition to obey regulations: 
prompted by pride, zeal, and a sense of duty. They 
were born fighters! A spirit of emulation induced 
them to perfect themselves in the drill; pride and 
patriotism kept them true to the last! But they could 

5 53 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

not have been made by punishment or the fear of 
it into machine soldiers. 

In other words our creed was that troops of the 
Rough Rider type must always excel the Tommy 
Atkins make. 

In October we were camped at Gentreville, near 
Colonel Francis Bartow's Georgia Brigade. Here- 
I received ill news. Colonel Tom Cooper had just 
been killed by his horse. Cooper succeeded Bartow 
in the command of the 8th Georgia Regiment. Prior 
to the war he was a leading lawyer of Atlanta. He 
entered the service as Captain of Atlanta's crack 
Company, the Gate City Guards. He passed through 
the hottest part of the battle of Bull Run, only to 
meet his fate as described. 

He was a man of noble physique, and a high 
Oder of mentality. His military skill was a hostage 
for advancement. He bade fair to become a leader 
of prominence. Colonel Cooper was a son of one 
of Georgia's illustrious men — Hon. Mark A. Cooper, 
of Bartow county; thus bereft by war of two bril- 
liant sons. Captain Fred Cooper, the second son, 
commanded a Company in the 7th Georgia Regi- 
ment — same Brigade. He was wounded in the first 
battle of Manassas, and died in a private house near 
the battlefield. His death occurred the day I arrived 
there. 

Captain Fred Cooper married the sister of Major 
Chas. Smith, of Rome, Georgia, where his Com- 
pany was recruited, and where he was practicing 
law when he answered the call to arms. The 
brothers were both "first honor" men at the Uni- 
versity of Georgia. Fred Cooper and his chum, 
Vallie Mason, of Alabama, "tied" for the first honor 
at College. The contestants were both my cousins. 

In November we went into winter quarters two 
miles from Manassas Junction. We built log cab- 
ins, in lines, with wide streets between, as per army 
regulations. The officers' quarters were some dis- 
tance away. The Confederacy adopted the old 

54 



THE TWENTY-FIRST GEORGIA 

United States Army regulations and tactics, as well 
as the Constitution of the United States — merely 
substituting, "Confederate States for United States." 

At no time were we in opposition to that docu- 
ment as it was formulated by our "great forbears," 
nor to the interpretations of the Supreme Courts as 
to our Constitutional rights. 

Here many officers and men were detailed or fur- 
loughed to go home and enlist recruits for their com- 
panies. The army drilled, had snow-battles, read, 
played games and wrote letters. Letter-writing was 
the soldier's resource. I was put under arrest for 
going to Manassas Depot to get boxes of clothing 
which had been sent to my men from home. 
Colonel Mercer gave me verbal permission to take 
an army team from the Quartermaster's Depart- 
ment and go for the goods. I was placed under 
arrest on my return for having been absent without 
leave. 

Colonel Mercer said he did not remember giv- 
ing me permission to leave camp, which may have 
been true, as he was under the influence of the 
"rosy" at the time. This and other misunderstand- 
ings with line officers caused a measure of estrange- 
ment, continuing until his death. General Critten- 
den, of Kentucky, commanding our Brigade, who 
had been a prominent officer of the United States 
Army, was soon promoted Major General and trans- 
ferred. Brigadier General Isaac R. Trimble was 
given the command of our Brigade (7th) , composed 
of the 21st North Carolina, 21st Georgia, 15th Ala- 
bama and 16th Mississippi Regiments. The 12th 
Georgia Regiment was assigned to this Brigade, 
after the seven days' fights around Richmond. We 
formed a part of Major General R. A. Ewells Divi- 
sion. 

All spirituous liquors were forbidden. The rail- 
road and express companies had strict orders 
to transport no intoxicants to the army. However, 
much whiskey found its way there. " 'Twas ever 

5S ^ V 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

thus," etc. Taylor's Louisiana Brigade of our Divi- 
sion, being mostly city or river men, "knevi^ the 
ropes," and could get it from Richmond. Our men 
could not. One snowy day I was reading by a com- 
fortable fire in my quarters, when I heard a tre- 
mendous racket down in the company quarters. On 
looking out, I saw a fight going on between ten or 
twelve Zouaves and men of my company. I ran 
down there and commanded the peace, which the 
sergeants restored after much difficulty. Several of 
Wheat's Tiger Rifles of Taylor's Brigade were lying 
on the ground, having been knocked down by my 
men. They said they had been robbed of their 
whiskey, by some boys of that Company, who met 
them, and asked for a drink, and then ran off with 
the bottles; that they had followed them to get satis- 
faction. I said, "You seem to have gotten it, from 
the looks of your bloody heads." I ordered the ser- 
geant to take them to my quarters and give them 
water and towels, and after they had washed, I gave 
them a drink all round, and said I was sorry they 
had been robbed; that if such disorders were re- 
ported to me, I would punish the perpetrators, but to 
come into that Company for a row, was a dangerous 
business." These men would have killed some of 
you if I had not stopped 'em," said L And they went 
off, saying, "We arq much obliged, sor; but Wheat's 
Battalion kin clean up the whole dam-Twenty-first 
Georgia any time." They were Irish; and, of course, 
loved a scrap. 

When General Johnston evacuated Manassas to 
meet McClellan's army at Yorktown, Ewel's Division 
was left on the Rappahannock, at the crossing of 
the Orange and Alexandria Rail Road, as a corps 
of observation. Here we had our "baptism of fire." 

The Federal Cavalry, and Meagher's Irish Brigade 
advanced and drove our cavalry back. They formed 
near the river. I had been ordered that morning, 
to take my company across the river on a freight 
train, and load the train with bacon stored in the 

56 



THE TWENTY-FIRST GEORGIA 

depot there. I was engaged in this work when the 
Yanks advanced a battery, and opened fire upon us. 
Shells were bursting around us : the Engineer want- 
ed to retreat, fearing his engine would be disabled; 
but I held him until all the bacon was loaded. In 
the meantime General J. E. B. Stuart rode up. He 
asked what I was doing there, and why I did not 
get the train out of range. I told him I was there- 
to carry out General Ewell's orders, and I was 
going to do it. He said "all right, go ahead, 
but look out you don't get captured." 

This was my first sight of General Jeb Stuart; 
afterwards the greatest of cavalry leaders. I 
had heard him called the Confederacy's " Harry 
of Navaarre"; the "plumed knight"; but never 
have I seen such a magnificent looking sol- 
dier. Faultlessly dressed, grandly mounted, with 
long, silky, auburn locks curling beneath his 
plumed hat, he rode away to join his cavalry le- 
gions: "he rode as Alexander; he looked a demi- 
god." 

When we had emptied the depot, we boarded the 
train. The Engineer was ordered to back across 
the river, and then according to orders, we set fire 
to the bridge. General Ewell afterwards regretted 
his destruction of this bridge. It gave notice to the 
enemy of our purpose to abandon that vicinity, and 
we found as did one of Napoleon's young officers, 
"it was easier to defend one bridge, than many 
fords." 

Ewell's Division was drawn up in line on 
the south side of the Rappahannock; Stuart's Cav- 
alry on the north side; and the bridge was burning. 
Just then the railroad train from Richmond arrived, 
bringing Lieutenants Easley and Countess with 
forty-five recruits for my company. They came 
down to the line of battle and reported to me, but in 
the excitement I did not take much notice of the 
recruits, who were standing there under the shell- 
ing, unarmed. At length one of them, a tall, lank, 

57 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

mountaineer, named Christopher, a typical looking 
"wild-catter" (who the boys afterwards called 
"Christopher Christ") stepped up to me, and said 
"Capt. Neashet, we-uns are as ready to fight as any- 
body, but we kaint fight them fellows over thar, 
without weepons." I told the Lieutenants to take 
them back to the wagon train out of range, and to 
feed and arm them. All of these recruits, (most 
of whom were from Island Greek Gove, Jackson 
County, Alabama), made splendid soldiers. 

The Yanks made no further advance, and so we 
went back to camp where we remained until April, 
1862. I lost several good men here from the effects 
of measles. This disease caused a greater loss to our 
unseasoned troops than the bullets of the enemy. 

It was here I had my first scouting experience. 
General Ewell wanted accurate information as to 
the force of the enemy. He said "Captain Nisbet, 
you select any number of your men, cross the river, 
pass through their videttes, without collision if pos- 
sible, and learn all you can." T selected two of my 
men. We wore our uniforms under overcoats of 
bluish gray, which concealed good 7 shooter Colts 
(44) self-cocking pistols. Crossing the Rappahan- 
nock River at night into Fauquier County, we passed 
throuft'h their pickets and found they had only one 
brigade: encamped at Warrenton Springs Junction. 
We called to see Dr. Beale at Bealton Station. 
Learned from him more about the enemy's numbers 
etc. Went down near the enemy's camp and heard 
them call roll and make details. After they had had 
their breakfast, the details got their axes and set out 
for the woods in which we were hidden. 

It was now daylight, and we could see new cross- 
ties scattered around. I ordered a retreat. During 
that day we saw several go into a house, unarmed. 
My men wanted to capture and take them as a pres- 
ent to our old General. To have captured them 
would have been easy, but I feared it might lead to 
our capture; and information was what General 



THE TWENTY-FIRST GEORGIA 

Ewell wanted. Hence I resisted the temptation. 

That night we returned safely to camp. Ewell, 
acting on my information, commenced to build a 
temporary bridge; intending to cross over and at- 
tack the enemy, but before he got ready, received 
orders to report to Jackson in the Valley. 

In a few days, a young son of Dr. Beale's came 
to see me. He said the servants reported to the 
Yanks my visit to his home, and that the Yanks had 
called his father to the door and shot him dead. 
Young Beale was on his way to join the "Black 
Horse Cavalry." I told him that was the right 
thing to do. I charged him to avenge his father's 
murder. He said he would not fail if he was so 
lucky as to capture any of that brigade. 

We marched to Jackson by way of Madison, G. 
H. and went into camp in Swift Run Gap, on thei 
Blue Ridge Mountain. The engagement at McDow- 
ell near Stanton, between General Edward John- 
ston's Division and Milroy's Federal force, was 
plainly heard. 

The 12th Georgia Regiment bore the brunt of the 
fight; and they were gallantly supported by the 
52nd, 58th and 49th Virginia Regiments of their 
brigade; and by Taliafero's and Winder's Virginia 
Brigades. Milroy retreated, burning his wagon 
train and stores. 

Prom men of Jackson's old Division, we learned 
how Jackson's ascendency over his troops — as well 
as his military fame — had withered after First 
Manassas. The winter campaign — January, 1862 — 
to Bath and Romney, was a huge blunder: causing 
some loss, and terrible suffering. 

Like Napoleon in Russia, Jackson was the victim 
of the elements. The best Generals, the fmest 
troops, may be routed by the forces of Nature. 
Jackson's retreat from West Virginia was followed 
by his resignation. This, fortunately, the author- 
ities at Richmond refused to accept. After the mis- 
eries of a campaign among mountains in a bliz- 

59 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

zard, came Kernstown, — another misfortune. Mis- 
informed by Ashby as to the enemy's numbers at 
Kernstown, Jackson there experienced a repulse. 

But after McDowell, Jackson stock rose to par. 
So things stood when we joined our leader, — as the 
budding leaves in The Valley were beginning to 
prattle of Spring. 

How transient is military glory! — "As variable as 
the shade" of the Spring leaves in the Virginia 
Valley. 

It was here, then, in the Spring of 1862 that I 
heard from men of Jackson's old Divisions, certain 
sombre facts, — not to be withheld. 

I give these truths in the words of Mr, Samuel 
Watkins, of Columbia, Tenn., whose reminiscences 
of the 1st Tenn. Reg. is an imperishable record of 
the endurance and fidelity of the Southern troops 
under incredible sufferings. 

He says: "Our march to Romney, W. Va., near 
the Pennsylvania line, was made in January, 1862, 
— the coldest winter ever known there. We had 
captured Bath: and were camped near the little 
village of Hampshire Grossing. Our Regiment was 
ordered to go to St. John's run, to relieve the pick- 
ets of the 14th Georgia and 3rd Arkansas Regi- 
ments. 

"We found the picket guard. ****** There 
were eleven of them. Some were seated : some were 
lying down: some were standing: But each and 
every man was as hard-frozen as the icicles hang- 
ing from their guns, clothing, hair — Dead! 

"They had died at the post of duty, 

"Two of them, a little in advance of the others, 

were standing sentinel: their loaded guns in their 

hands: watching over the camp of their sleeping 

companions in the rear!" 

*•*••*** 

It was the coldest winter known to the oldest in- 
habitants of those regions. ****** The Storm 
King ruled in all his majesty and power. Snow, 

60 



THE TWENTY-FIRST GEORGIA 

rain, sleet and tempest, seemed to ride, laugh, 
shriek, howl, moan and groan in all their fury. 

The soldiers on this march got very much dis- 
couraged and disheartened. As they marched 
along, icicles hung from their clothing, guns and 
knapsacks: many were badly frost-bitten, and I 
heard of many freezing to death along the roadside. 
My feet peeled off like a peeled onion on that march, 
and I have not recovered from its effects to this day. 
The snow and ice on the ground being packed by 
the soldiers' tramping, the horses of the artillery- 
wagons were continually slipping and sliding; — 
falling and wounding themselves, and some 
times killing their riders. The winds — whistling 
with a keen and piercing shriek — seemed to freeze 
the marrow in our bones. 

The soldiers in the whole army got rebellious — 
almost mutinous — and would curse and abuse Jack- 
son. In fact, they called him "Fool Tom Jackson." 
They blamed him for the cold weather : they blamed 
him for everything: and when he rode by a regi- 
ment they would take occasion to abuse him sottoi 
voce: calling him "Fool Tom Jackson" — loud 
enough for him to hear it. Soldiers from all the 
commands would fall out of ranks stop by the road- 
side, and swear they would not follow such a leader 
any longer. 

When Jackson got to Romney, and was ready to 
strike Banks and Meade in a vital point — a move- 
ment which would have changed, perhaps, the des- 
tiny of the South, his troops refused to march any 
further. He turned, marched back to Winchester, 
and tendered his resignation. But the great leader's 
resignation was not accepted. It remained for him 
to do some of ihe hardest fighting, and display the 
greatest generalship of the war. 

One night at Romney I was sent forward with 
two other soldiers across the wire bridge as picket. 
One of the men was named Schwartz, the other 
Pfifer: both full-blood Dutchmen, belonging to 

6t 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Company "E," or the German Yagers, Captain 
Harsh; or, as he was more generally called, "God- 
for-dam." 

When we had crossed the bridge and taken our 
station for the night, I saw another snow-storm was 
coming. The zig-zag lightnings began to flare and 
flash, sheet after sheet of flames seemed to burst 
right over our heads, and were hissing around us. 
****** Streak after streak of lightning pierced 
each other. ****** The white clouds rolled 
up, looking like huge snow-balls encircled with 
living fire. ****** i remember that storm now 
as the grandest picture that ever made any impres- 
sion on my memory. As soon as it quit lightning, 
the most blinding snow-storm was on, that I ever 
saw. ****** X was freezing. The winds 
sounded like sweet music. I felt grand; glorious; 
beautiful things began to dance and play around 
my head. I suppose I must have dropped asleep, 
when I felt Schwartz grab me, and give me a 
shake, and at the same time he raised his gun and 
fired, yelling at the top of his voice, "Hero's your 
mule!" The next instant a volley of minnie-balls was 
scattering the snow all round us. I tried to walk, 
but my pants and boots were stiff and frozen, anci 
the blood had ceased to circulate in my lower limbs. 
But Schwartz kept on firing and at every fire he'd 
yell, "Yer yer moot!" Pflfer couldn't speak English; 
I reckon he was saying, "Here's your mule!" u% 
Dutch. About the same time we were hailed by 
three Confederate officers coming right toward us 
at full gallop: "Don't shoot!" As they galloped up, 
and thundered across the bridge, we discovered it 
was General Jackson and two of his staff. The 
Yankee cavalry charged us; and we, too, ran back 

across the bridge 

******** 

To this memorable record of Western Virginia, 
the battlefields of Georgia add a piteous postcript. 
Our historian continues: 

62 



THE TWENTY-FIRST GEORGIA 

"After the battle of Peachtree Greek, while 
camped near Atlanta, I went to a farm house. The 
old farmer and his wife were engaged in making 
clay pipes to swap the soldiers, for rations. They 
were glad to see me: saying I looked exactly like 
their son "in the army." I asked to what regiment 
he belonged. The old lady, her voice trembling, 
answered: "The 14th Ga." And she began to sob. 
Said her husband: "Yes; we have a son in the 
army. The last time we heard from him, he was 
with Stonewall Jackson: away up in the moun- 
tains ; toward Romney. We did hear that while 
standing picket — on a little stream — called St. 
John's Run, he, and ten others were frozen to 
death!" 

The speaker was walking up and down the room 
— trembling with excitement, "These wars are ter- 
rible, sir! We have never heard, from him since!" 

I rose and buckled on my knapsack, to go back 
to camp. I shook hands with these good old people 
and they said, "God bless you! God bless you!" 
I said, "Good-bye; may God bless and comfort 
you." 

Is there any commemorative marble in any Hall 
of Fame, that outvies the record of the pickets on' 
guard at St. John's Run? "Greater love hath no man 
than this : that he lay down his life for his friends." 

Jackson having prevented Milroy's junction with 
Banks, did not pursue him far. After capturing 
some army supplies and prisoners, he returned to 
the Shenandoah Valley. 

The battle of McDowell was fought on the 8th 
of May, 1862. Dr. Dabney says: "This battle is es- 
pecially note-worthy as the first of a series of vic- 
tories which has forever joined the names of Stone- 
wall Jackson and the Shenandoah Valley." 

We remained in camp in Swift Run kbout two 
weeks. My boys enjoyed the company of the moun- 
taineer families; it was so homelike. They visited; 
had dances and "singings." The "square-note" 

63 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

hymn books were popular. These books were bor- 
rowed from the country-girls, and thumbed around 
the camp-fires: — thousands of soldiers joining in 
the songs. And many a fellow was off in a bee-line 
for Kite's apple-brandy distillery, when chance 
offered. 

The Captain of each company was allowed to de- 
tail one man as cook, and exempt the cook from 
Company duty. In my Company were many Blev- 
ins — good soldiers, they — and of all makes and 
sizes. There were three named William, "Lit- 
tle Bill", "Short Bill" and "Long Bill." My 
detailed man was known on the rolls as "Long 
Bill". He was astonishingly long and thin. He was 
a good cook; and gloried in the business. He asked 
for the job, saying; "Captain, I cant stand the shoot- 
ing, and I'm afraid I might run, — and disgrace my 
name." He was proud of his knowledge of cookery 
and excelled in making light-bread. On one occa- 
sion having secured some "yeast-cakes" he busied 
himself with baking rolls. The oven, however, was 
not large enough to hold risen bread for my whole 
mess: the "sponge" overflowed the oven in the bak- 
ing; and the bread did not turn out well. 

Long Bill went to the Brigade Blacksmith and 
had a four-inch iron ring fitted on the oven. 
He was bound to have room for those rolls. 
Lying in my tent, my presence quite unsus- 
pected, I watched Long Bill come up against 
light rolls. A chip fire was under the oven 
and on the oven-lid. The bread was rising, 
— rising. Big beads of sweat stood on poor Bill's 
anxious face. "Comin' up: she air sho' comin' up;" 
he muttered. The crisis was at hand. The oven- 
lid was lifted by the bread under it. In dismay, 
Bill brought a fence-rail and laid it across the "res- 
ky" lid. The half-baked dough exuded from the 
oven. The man stared desperately. He backed ofT 
twenty steps — resolution in every line of him; and 
his lines were long; — then, back he came, running 

69 



THE TWENTY-FIRST GEORGIA 

and "cussing" and jumped on the blazing oven;— 
mashing it down into the ashes. "NOW, come up; 
Dam-yer; Come up," he ejaculated. 

There are some things about war that are "pow- 
erful straining" on a fellow's religion. 



6S 



VIII 

THE PRIVATE SOLDIER 

As a rule, the private soldier voted against seces- 
sion but believed in State's Rights. His love of 
section was stronger than any feeling he enter- 
tained for the Union of States. Many Union men 
turned cold to the Union after the John Brow^n Raid. 
Not because it was an attempt to bring on a war 
between the races; but because of the manner in 
which Brown's death was received by the anti- 
Southern states. He was regarded as a martyr. By 
certain fanatics he was almost deified. From this 
fact Southern Union men drew grave conclusions. 
"If" they reasoned "our liberties and rights are to 
be preserved, it must be out of, not in, the Union." 

After enlisting in the Confederate Cause the pri- 
vate soldier was not furnished by his government 
with adequate clothing or rations. 

His pay, eleven dollars per month, is depreciated 
currency, was not equal in the average of four years 
to $3.00 per month in gold. 

He did not own slaves; nor hope to do so. But 
he believed in the right to hold negro slaves as a 
thing established by Biblical endorsement. 

In a well-organized regiment he soon became im- 
bued with esprit du corps and it is now conceded 
that a better fighter than the Southern private the 
world never saw. 

Had he been lacking in inteligence, bravery, en- 
durance, or patriotism, we could not have resisted, 
for four years, the strongest Government, fmancially 
and numerically, in the world. A Government, 



THE PRIVATE SOLDIER 

moreover, having all of Europe from which to re- 
cruit its ranks. 

The "high private" in his own eyes, was the de- 
fender of the women, children, and property of the 
South, against savage invasion. When and where 
did he ever falter in his duty? 

Many and many a "letter from home" written to 
private soldiers by relatives was brought to me to 
read. Usually, these letters were patriotic and en- 
couraging. The families of these men — the great 
majority of them — made crops : raising corn enough 
to "bread" them and to feed the horse, the cow, a 
few pigs, and so on; — and a supply of sorghum. 
The latter was a big item. I have heard it seriously 
asserted that in the final year of the war sorghum 
kept the Confederacy on its legs! 

The superiority of the Southern soldier was rec- 
ognized by England in the old Revolutionary war. 

Edmund Burke, the most accomplished and phil- 
osophical statesman England ever produced, in his 
speech on "Conciliation with America," declared: 
"Where slavery exists, those that are free are by far 
the most proud and jealous of their freedom. I 
cannot alter the nature of man. The fact is: And 
these people of the Southern colonies are much 
more strongly, and with higher and more stubborn 
spirit attached to liberty, than those to the north- 
ward. Such were all the Ancient Commonwealths. 
Such were our Gothic ancestors. Such in our day, 
were the Poles. And such will be all masters of 
slaves, who are not slaves themselves. In such a 
people, the haughtiness of domination combines it 
self with the spirit of freedom; fortifies it and 
renders it invincible." 

Says General Jno. B. Gordon: "Probably in no 
military organization that ever existed were there 
such cordial relations between officers and private 
soldiers as in the Confederate army. 

This was due, doubtless, to the fact that in our 
ranks there were lawyers, teachers, bankers, mer- 

6Z 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

chants, planters, college professors and students. 

Many of these became thereafter, Chief Justices, 
Governors, and occupants of the highest public 
stations: some of the Northern, as well as in the 
Southern states. Some of these privates have told 
with great relish about an old well-to-do farmer 
near Appomattox who decided to give employment, 
after the surrender, to any of Lee's veteran's who 
might be willing to work for a few days for food 
and small pay. He divided the Confederate em- 
ployees into squads, with regard to their respective 
rank in the army. A neighbor questioned him 
about the different squads. 

"Who are those men working over there?" 

"Them's privates; from Lee's Army." 

"Well, how do they work?" 

"Very fine. Sir. First rate workers:" 

"Who are those in the second group?" 

"Them's Lieutenants en Captains. Works fairly 
well, yes. But not as good workers as them there 
privates." 

"See you have a third squad; who are they?" 

"Them's Colonels, Sir." 

"Well, what about 'em? How do the Colonels 
work?" 

"Now neighbor, you'll never hear me say nary 
word agin any man that ever fit in the Southern 
Army: — But I aint a-gwine ter hire no ginerals:" 

The Rev. Randolph H. McKim, in an article in 
the Review of Reviews, observes lucently: "The sons 
of the plain farmer, and the sons of the wealthy 
slave-holder, served side by side, in the ranks of the 
Southern Army. 

In 1860 there were in the South only six million 
whites, half being females. There were only 
three million males including infants and old 
men. Allowing one-third of these to have been 
able-bodied and capable of military duty the whites 
of the slave-holding states could only have mustered 
one million fighting men. But with such large sec- 

68 



THE PRIVATE SOLDIER 

tions of these states disaffected to the South, and 
attached to the North, the entire Confederate force 
could not have numbered more than seven hundred 
thousand men; if that many. According to careful 
estimates of the students of this subject there were 
only about four hundrede thousand slaveholders — 
one-half of whom were women and children — 
leaving two hundred thousand adult male slave- 
holders. Of these not more than seventy-five thous- 
and were in the army. The sons of the rich in the 
South went to war in larger numbers than any sim- 
ilar class had ever done; yet facts and figures*^ point 
to the inevitable conclusion that a large majority 
of the Confederate soldiers came from the non-slav- 
holding class." 

Some communities, of course, furnished Com- 
panies largely composed of slaveholders. 

My Company, "H" 21st. Ga., was recruited in the 
valleys of North-west Georgia and Alabama. The 
muster rolls of this Company — including recruits — 
show one hundred and eighty-five names. All of 
these men could read and write except four; and 
they — those four — were "crackers" who finally de- 
serted. All were non-slave-holders except myself. 
The parents of four of the men owned one or two 
slaves. The father of my 1st Lieutenant, Easley, 
owned forty or fifty. Six or Eight of Company "H" 
had attended college. This was the average of the 
21st Georgia Regiment; and the 21st North Caro- 
lina Regiment was about the same. These two 
Regiments made the best record of any in Jack- 
son's Corps. 

Says Prof. Hosmer— Vol. 16. page 76. "American 
Nation."— "It was a perplexing thing to the North- 
ern mind that these people who owned no slaves, 
who were put out of the pale of slave-holding so- 
ciety (as they thought) should have accepted with 
so little question the leadership of the slave-holder." 

But it seems even more perplexing and strange 
that these people — described by Professors Hart, 

6 69 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Hosmer and other northern historians and writers^ 
as "illiterate, dirty, indolent, shiftless; men who 
will not work on any terms" — should have made 
such indomitable soldiers! 

And when the conflict was done, these men built 
up the South. 

It is amazing how eastern pens spill ink over this 
paradox about the non-slave-holding whites of the 
South, and their descendants. The five hundred 
and eighteen thousand illiterates Hart, Elson, and 
others refer to — obsessively — must be the crackers. 
Their existence we do not deny. 

One word more about our private soldier. A later 
proof of the appreciation of his worth. In the year 
1898 when Theodore Roosevelt patriotically raised 
his "Rough Riders", his ambition to make a salient 
and brilliant military record led him to recruit his 
regiment from this identical fighting stock. Leav- 
ing his northern home, he made San An- 
tonio his headquarters, and the rendezvous 
for his companies raised in the states and 
territories of the southwest. The southern 
privates who went west in great numbers, 
at the close of the Civil War, had peopled the 
plains with their cowboy sons. 

These in great part composed the Rough 
Riders. Of the twelve companies composing the 
first Regiment United States Vol. cavalry (Rough 
Riders) Arizona furnished three (A, B and G) 
New Mexico four; (E, F, G and H.) Oklahoma 
two; (D. and I.) Indian Territory one (L.) 
Texas one; (M.) New York one (K) This last^ 
Gapt. Woodbury Kane 319 5th Ave., was au- 
thorized to raise. He recruited its ranks in the 
East and West. Gol. Roosevelt had so many appli- 
cations for enlistment from his personal friends, 
he was compelled to place some of them. Gapt. Kane 
Tiffany and the gallant Hamilton Fish (111) whose 
death was deplored north and south, are unforget- 
table figures of that epoch. It may be mentioned 

70 



THE PRIVATE SOLDIER 

that the response of the Millionaire-University fel- 
lows to the call for volunteers in the Spanish War.^ 
was a spectacle; — and no mean one. 



71 



IX 

OUR SUBMERGED TENTH 

Northern writers appear to regard the cracker 
per se as an insubstantial thing. A myth. Non-ex- 
istent. His entity is very plainly proved by a colla- 
tion of historical facts. History records that after 
Queen Elizabeth emancipated the "villians" who 
were similar to the Russian serfs of our day, vag- 
abondage in England became a great nuisance 
just as negro vagabondage afflicted Southern 
towns "After Freedom". 

Laws were enacted to arrest all persons who were 
unemployed, and if found vagrants, they were to 
be publicly whipped, and put to work. But they 
could avoid the punishment, as the law gave them 
the choice of signing a contract to come to America 
to work for the tobacco-planters : and this included 
certain persons condemned for other crimes. 

They were called "Indentured Servants" and their 
contracts were from three to seven years. The\ 
women and children were under contract also, and 
when they had worked out their passage and ex- 
penses as per agreement, the planter was bound to 
give them a certain small outfit 

The "Economic history of Virginia in the seven- 
teenth century," Phillip Alexander Bruce secretary 
Virginia Historical Society" after giving the opera- 
tion of the plantation with "Indentured Servants" 
says: "Towards the close of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, negro slaves became very numerous; and as 
they were stronger and more desirable they sup- 
planted the whites as laborers on the plantations." 

72 



OUR SUBMERGED TENTHS 

The ancient English law which bound certain 
people to the land on which they were born called 
the "Villainage" and compelled them to work for 
the land owners, was enforced in England for hun- 
dreds of years. This class from service, and poor 
food, became enfeebled: degradations for genera- 
tions, had deprived them of all ambition. Sir Walter 
Raleigh, the "Virginia Company", "London Com- 
pany" and other corporations were granted permis- 
sion to send them to the colonies. Thousands wpre 
sent over to Virginia and the Carolinas : and later 
Gen. Oglethorpe "sent shiploads to Georgia. 

These people, not wanting to work after com- 
pleting contract, trekked back, West and South, to 
the thin land of the "piney woods" and mountains 
where they "squatted" undisturbed until the Revo- 
hitionary war: when they sided with the Rritish, 
and harrassed the American patriots sorely at times 
by bushwhacking and robbing. 

They w^re dubbed "Tories" and when the Revo- 
lution had ended successfully, they were in such 
bad repute that many flockfd to Georgia, East Ten- 
nessee and Kentucky, from whence they migrated 
to Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and 
some even to Texas. Their descendants, later, true 
to their Tory blood and instincts, were quick to turn 
against their own section and neighbors, in favor 
of the stranger and the stronger side: in whose 
service they went in roving bands, avoiding the 
fighting, labor and discipline incident to the regular 
soldier; but always ready to plunder the helpless. 
They would inform against their neighbors to curry 
favor with the invader. 

There were some honest Union men in the South, 
but it is ridiculous to dignify these "Tories' as 
Union men; although some of them were enlisted 
in the Federal army. They have no principles and 

Emily P. Burke, a New Hampshire lady who 
taught school in various parts of Georgia be- 
tween 1840 and 1850, has published a book of 

73 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

know nothing of governments and law. 
her experiences. Of the "Crackers" she says; 
"These people are known at the South by such 
names as "Crackers", "Clay-Eaters" and "Sand- 
Hillers," They are called Sand-hillers from the 
ground they occupy. This part of the population 
of Georgia and contiguous states, are descendants 
of the paupers brought from England. The same 
crushed spirit that will ever suffer one to accept slav- 
ery, or a home in the alms-house,seems to have been 
transmitted down to the present posterity of these 
emigrants. They are not treated with half the re- 
spect by the bettter class that the slaves are; and 
the slaves have great contempt for them; calling 
them "Buckra", the only native word they have 
retained, standing for "White." 

They were called "Crackers" by the people of Sa- 
vannah on account of the deftness with which they 
cracked their whips on coming into the city, in 
long caravans of two wheeled carts, drawn by little 
steers or donkeys in shafts. The crack of their 
whips could be heard a long distance. Whole 
neighborhoods visited the city together, once or 
twice a year to exchange pelts, hides, and "yarbs" 
for articles of actual necessity. 

They were not all poor. I know of some ex- 
ceptions. In the mountain region, they sometimes 
enter land from the Government that cost them only 
$12.00 per land lot of one hundred and sixty acres, 
Aftpr living on it five years, they can "make proof 
and get a good title. I have known of cases when 
timber, minerals or coal was found on their land, 
for which big prices were paid. But I never knew 
of a case when they attained more than a bare sub- 
sistence by labor. When enriched by fortunate 
chance, as per the coal or timber route, there have 
been marriages into better stock; but the ear-marks 
of the cracker are well-nigh ineradicable; cropping 
our for generations. 

74 



OUR SUBMERGED TENTHS 

When living near a city, they sell "light- 
wood" (kindling) for a living. I recall seeing two 
of them one day, as their little tow-head donkey 
struggled to mount a steep street of Macon, Georgia, 
one of the boys — about twelve years old — was 
standing on the shaft "laying a hickory" on the 
donkey. When the older boy "caught up" he ex- 
claimed with furious indignation, "Jeems, git ofT'n 
the dash; Ye think the ole Jinny kin pull Hell en 
damnation;; — S-a-a-y-?" 

We get a British view of the "cracker" from the 
strong, honest pen of Anthony Stokes; who, in 1773, 
was Chief Justice of the Georgia Colony. He lived 
in Savannah until his return to England in 1789: 
when he published a treatise on the "Georgia Col- 
ony." "He wrote much more sense than was usually 
written in those days." Stokes viewed with alarm 
the invasion of Georgia by "a swarm of men from 
the Western parts of Virginia and North Carolina 
distinguished by the name of "Crackers". 

"Many of these people are tescended from con- 
victs who were transported from Great Britain to 
Virginia, at different times, and who inherit so 
much profligacy from their ancestors that they are 
the most abandoned set of men on earth. 

"During the King's government these "crackers" 
were very troublesome in the settlements, by driv- 
ing off gangs of cattle to Virginia; and committing 
other enormities. They also occasioned frequent 
disputes with the Indians, whom they robbed and 
sometimes murdered." 

"During the Revolutionary war the Americans 
lost much of that apprehension which they had 
formerly entertained for the Indians ; for "the crack- 
ers" destitute of every sense of religion which might 
withhold them from acts of perfidy and cruelty, 
have been discovered to out do the Indians in bear- 
ing hunger and fatigue, and in the arts of bush- 
flghting." 

n 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Thus honest Anthony Stokes: His Majesty's Chief 
Justice. But the hand of commerce has tamed the 
Indian's rival in savagery. A strange conjunction 
has come about. The cotton-factory, the cotton- 
field and "the cracker." Lo, a triology which spells 
power. What a metamorphosis! The cracker has 
become a thorn in the side of New England 
Mill owners. He is cheap labor. He is com- 
petition. Competition moves the New Eng- 
land conscience! The New England conscience, 
of which we hear so much and see so lit- 
tle! Except, indeed, in the works of John 
Brown, Tecumseh Sherman, and the like. The New 
England conscience is the spirit of persecution. It 
is the nightmare of Creation! 

And once more, it is busy about the South! This 
time, it is concerned for "child labor in the cotton 
mills of the South!" 

"Child labor!" they squall. "The Cry of the Chil- 
dren." Go to! For the cracker child, the loom-room 
is evolution. The negro owes a debt to slavery he 
can never pay. It was "Up from the Jungle" with 
him! Slavery was the vestibule of his civilization! 
And as for the "Clay-Eaters" and the "Hook Worm 
contigent," the cotton mill is the door of escape 
from eviller conditions : the vestibule of Civilization 
{'■:v fhem. 



76 



X. 

THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN. 

After the battle of McDowell, Jackson concen- 
trated his troops, consisting of the Stonewall and 
Ewell Divisions, and Ashby's Cavalry, near Swift 
Run Gap. Soon came the order to march. 

Our tents were sent to the rear. Jackson did not 
believe in tents. They were breeding places of 
typhoid fever. So he needed but few wagons to 
convey supplies only. Like Caesar, he viewed wagon 
trains as "impedimenta," 

Two of Ewell's Brigades advanced on Luray turn- 
pike, but Trimble's Brigade followed a trail on the 
crest of the Blue Ridge until opposite Front Royal, 
where we debouched onto the Valley pike, and 
joined the other Brigades. Lying between the Blue 
Ridge and North Mountain, the famed Valley of 
Virginia was before us, in all its beauty. Fields of 
wheat and clover spread far and wide, interspersed 
with woodlands, bright in their tender green. But 
"the glory of the Valley was Massanutten !" 

Rising abruptly from the plain near Harrison- 
burg, this picturesque mountain extends for fifty 
miles, and as abruptly terminates, near Strasburg. 
Midway is a gap, with good road between the towns 
of New Market and Luray. 

Jackson was advised that the enemy, occupying 
Front Royal, was prepared to oppose us. Trimble's 
Brigade was leading the Division, but just before 
entering the town we were halted, fronting the pike. 

Then, here came General Dick Taylor's Louisiana 
Brigade, over three thousand strong. Each man, 
every inch a soldier, was perfectly uniformed, wear- 

7i 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

ing white gaiters and leggings, marching quick- 
step, with his rifle at "right-shoulder-shift," while 
the band in front played "The Girl I Left Behind 
Me." 

The blue-gray uniforms of the officers were bril- 
liant with gold lace, their rakish slouch hats adorned 
with tassels and plumes. Behold a military pa- 
geant, beautiful and memorable. We stood at 
"present arms" as they passed. It was the most 
picturesque and inspiring martial sight that came 
under my eyes during four years of service. Here, 
for the first time, I saw Stonewall Jackson. He 
passed us at a gallop, leaning forward with uplifted 
can. as we cheered. I afterwards found that he 
always went at full speed when on the road. "The 
very demon of energy" he. 

When in camp, he sat silent; sucked a lemon, ate 
hard-tack and drank water. "Praying and fight- 
ing" appeared to be his idea of "the whole duty of 
man," as old General Dick Ewell said. 

Being advised that there was a large open com- 
mon adjoining Front Royal, he chose to show the 
Yanks how his troops could maneuvre under fire. 

Taylor marched his Brigade in by the flank; in 
files of four, and went intc !ine at double quick, 
under a heavy fire, at the command "On the right, 
by file into line." (Hardee.) As men fell wounded, 
the ranks closed up. As each Company faced the 
enemy, they commenced firing. Trimble's Brigade 
following, performed the same movements, forming 
the second Brigade or supporting line, but before 
we had completed our alignment, the Louisiana 
Brigade charged and captured the battery, and the 
town, the Federal Infantry being in full retreat. 

The Federals set fire to the bridge over the Shen- 
andoah, which we saved. There was some delay, 
but in the meantime Ashby's Cavalry swam the 
river, which was quite deep, and dashed on, over- 
taking and capturing most of the garrison as they 
fled towards Winchester. We followed, capturing 

78 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

many of the First Maryland (Federals) who came 
out to the pike from the cedar thickets. The FirsI 
Maryland (Confederates) was attached to Taylor's 
Brigade and they had the pleasure of capturing a 
good manj^ of their acqu)aintances of the First 
l^ederal (Maryland) Regiment. Taylor's Brigade 
was put in front on that account by special request 
u ./r ^sh^y's Cavalry charged down the pike, led 
by Major Davis, Quartermaster of Taylor's Brigade 
who had volunteered to lead the pursuit, some of 
the retreating foe jumped over a fence and fired 
Major Davis fell, and was lying there covered with 
a Blanket when we came up. 

He was buried near by, with military honors: 
General Taylor reading the burial service, and tes- 
tilying to his high character and efficiency 

I never heard of any other Quartermaster, Com- 
missary man or Chaplain being killed; so this cir- 
cumstance made an impression on memory's 
palimpsest. ^ 

When a battle was imminent the soldiers became 
very serious. 

.^^^Jj^'^J-^'^^'^^^^^^^^nouiof their breast pockets, 
placed there, perhaps, by the tender hand of wife 
sister, or dear old mother. Playing cards, thrown 
march "^ ' ^^^^ scattered along the line of 

After the fight, cards were in demand again and 

S. ' t^u- PfT^""^ by the sharp felbws who, 
following behind, had picked them up 
Did religion sustain the soldier in the hour of bat- 
tle? I think It did. But "doctors will differ " It 

''A'n?nn f r^^ ^^K ^?^^ '"^^^^^' Wellington, said: 
ft ^ /'""^ christian sentiment is totally unfit 

^t^PP^. ^r^'^"",?^ f .^i^^dier." General James Long- 
street endorses that idea. * 

The christian life of both Lee and Jackson furnish 
an eloquent rebuke to such suggestions, and there 
were many others like them: notlbly GeAerals John 
B. Gordon, D. H. Hill, A. P. Hill, Leonidas Polk, and 



79 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Jeb. Stuart, Heth, all men of deep religious convic- 
tions. A religious life must exalt the soldier, as it 
does the citizen, to a higher conception of duty. 
The Christian Religion, after all, in its last analysis, 
is character. 

From the Commander-in-Chief to the private in 
the ranks there was a deep religious feeling in the 
Southern Armies. Whenever it was convenient and 
practical, these hungry, but unyielding men, were 
holding prayer-meetings. These soldier meetings 
were called by some, "emotional morality." They 
were momentously solemn, but occasionally had 
their humorous sides. 

At one of these gatherings for prayer was a pri- 
vate who had a peg-leg. Unable to kneel, he sat 
with bowed head, while another brother led in 
prayer. The brother was earnestly praying for 
more strength and more courage. The brave old 
one-legged Confederate, down on his only knee, 
called out: "Hold on, thar. Brother Jones! Hold 
up, with that-thar prayer! Why don't you pray 
for more provisions? We've got more courage now 
than we's got any use for!" 

General John B. Gordon relates: "At a point 
near Petersburg w^here the left of A. P. Hill's corps 
touched the right of my corps, a threatened attack 
brought together for counsel a number of ofTicers. 
After agreeing upon a proper disposition of troops 
for defense, we withdrew into a near-by cabin to 
unite in prayer to Almighty God for His guidance. 
As we assembled, one of our Generals rode by. 
Major- General Harry Heth, of Hill's corps, stepped 
to the door and called to him to join us in prayer. 
The ofTicer misunderstood the invitation, and re- 
plied: "Thanks, General; no more at present. Just 
had some." 

On one of these revivals of religious feeling 
among my troops, one of my old soldiers, the hero 
of many battles, and a man in whom was no guile, 
professed religion, confessed his sins, and declared 

80 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

with rejoicing that he had received forgiveness. 

He was a long, lank fellow : — But, Oh, you reliable 
Sergeant! His favorite self-coined superlative was 
"Ovial." He was a lively fellow, by nature, and 
took to soldiering like a duck to water. He had 
felt the gaudium certaminis that comes to every gal- 
lant soldier on the firing-line, with the boldest. But 
the humility — the meek and lowly spirit proper to 
a "professor," well, he didn't Imow how to assume 
that! 

Not long after his conversion, some of the 
boys brought in a gallon of that mellow old apple 
brandy which made the beautiful valley "famous," 
and offered the Sergeant a jigger. The temptation 
to liven-up, that drizzly day, was not to be with- 
stood. Brother Sam thought it not inconsistent 
wih his professions, so he took a little for the stom- 
ach's sake, and soon showed he was feeling good. 

Passing through the quarters on inspection I no- 
ticed that Sam was not drunk — but happy. He was 
stepping round "like a blind dog in high oats." "How 
do you feel today, Sergeant?" I asked. He came to 
the position of a soldier, and saluted: "Ovial, Cap- 
tain! Ovial, sir!" As I passed on, one of his "brethren 
in the Lord" came up, and noticing the Ser- 
geant was not as meek as he thought he ought to be, 
gently asked: "Brother Sam, didn't you profess 
religion, here, a little while back?" Sam, taking 
the question as a quiet rebuke, spoke up: "Yes, I 
did! And I think as much of religion as any man. 
But there's such a thing as having too dam-much 
of it!" 

During my four years of service, I do not recall 
meeting an avowed infidel. Fifty years ago, in the 
Southern States, the people participated in religious 
services, not as thinking and enquiring minds, but 
as members of a God-fearing community. A man's 
Christianity was something inherently his; some- 
thing that had been handed down from his believ- 
ing ancestors — a precious, if intangible heritage. 

81 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

At that time it was considered heresy even to 
question the validity of "the old landmarks" of 
Religious Belief. Vainly did the scientists, at that 
period, endeavor to prove an analogy between the 
revelations of stupendous accomplishment and the 
Scriptures. 

Christian folk frowned at the daring motto: 
"Omnes Colchis." And who wanted to claim kin 
with an oyster? Nowadays, the wranglers are get- 
ting together. Individual thought refuses to be sup- 
pressed. The conflict amounts to a struggle be- 
tween the individual and the collective mind, for 
freedom. "The Theologues are discovering that 
man has a body; the M. D.'s that he has a soul." 

But the Old Landmarks! Where are they? 

When the Jews rejected Christ, Paul said: Lo, 
we turn to the Gentiles." Some of the ideas of the 
new converts were inevitably incorporated with 
their new belief. For its first Ave centuries, the 
Christian Religion was stamped with Greek attain- 
ments — and Greek myths, as well. 

"The dark Plutonean shadows," of the Greek 
Hades, has beclouded nineteen centuries; the Greek 
Hell standing in the relation to the Christian Reli- 
gion, that the Pacific ocean does to our physical 
earth: "Its great volcanic floor!' 

As a "handy" dogma. Hell took on new force in 
the 12th century, when Dante's "Inferno" was en- 
dorsed by the Church and the poet canonized! The 
Romish Church was now "ace high." 

In the 16th century when Luther and Calvin 
kicked out of the Church of Rome, they took that 
tenet with them. The Reformation took its "mate- 
rial Hell" on the march — as Hannibal marched 
with the Sacred Chickens of India, along — to devil 
him on his campaign. 

82 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

That 16th century — big with advanced thought — 
suggests Coleridge's idea: 

"Never, believe me, 
Appear the Immortals 
Never, alone!" 
Intellectual Europe awoke. Galileo's pen was 
Ithuriel's spear. It touched Dogma, and revealed 
the Devil. The Gopernican Theory had escaped the 
eyes of the Church, but Galileo's able treatise on the 
subject did not. The works of Copernicus wore 
denounced; and Galileo twisted on the rack until he 
was ready to swear the earth stood as still as the 
Church! Yet his writhing lips left the world the 
immortal whisper: "It moves, — for all that!" 

The year he died, Newton was born; to elucidate 
gravitation; to show that the planetary system was 
controlled by fixed natural laws, and not by the 
direct interposition of the Deity; and thus Science 
set Theology by the ears again, and smudged away 
more Churchly opinions. 

Cuvier, born 1769, was dangerously illuminat- 
ing, but he taught in Paris, and the Doctrinaires 
looked upon him as a frog-eating Infidel. Hugh 
Miller's "Testimony of the Rocks," and "Old Red 
Sandstone," awoke a storm of religious contro- 
versy! His proof that this old world is millions of 
years old, instead of the six thousand which had 
been one of our Articles of Belief — swept away 
another ancient landmark. 

Then came the trumpeters of Evolution, Darwin 
and Agassiz, and the pulpits shook. It was God- 
less! So the people with souls said! 

I have a boyish remembrance that when "The 
Origin of the Species," with other new books, ap- 
peared on our library table, it received much the 
sort of treatment a rattlesnake might have done. My 
mother, a woman of convictions, as well as a grad- 
uate of eastern colleges, took up the unclean thing in 
a pair of tongs! — and cast it forever out of sight. 
She forgot that I had been listening to the lectures 

83 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

of Prof. Joseph Le Gonte, my teacher at Oglethorpe 
College, before he was called to the chair of Science 
at the University of California. 

Said this sincerest of Christian men : "Every one 
of us, individually, became w^hat w^e now are by a 
slow process of evolution from a microscopic 
spherule of protoplasm, a fact that should not in- 
terfere with the idea of God as our Individual 
Maker, nor of Adam as being selected by God as the 
most perfect type of man, to become the progenitor 
of the race which was to produce Our Savior, Jesus 
Christ." 

Said Le Conte: "Evolution as revealed by Sci- 
ence, does contradict the old accepted belief in the 
age of the world, and the unity of the races." The 
supernatural seems to be slipping away. Old 
truths, in a new form, strike us as paradoxical, im- 
possible. Yet do we ask of Science, as Pilate asked 
of Christ, "What Is Truth?" 

Evolution was on the lips of Aristides, 407 B. G. 
But in this our day, it threatens dogma. We look 
for the Old Landmarks, and find them not. In their 
stead — Darwin and Huxley! 

If we could only keep the geological busy-bodies 
from diging up the skull of some pre-historic Yo- 
rick half a million years, or so, old — like the Pilt- 
down skull out of Pleistocene strata — the preachers 
could be left in peaceable possession of Genesis, 
and the Sunday School teachers would not be 
moved to assemble, four thousand strong, in Wash- 
ington, D C, and resolve that Hell is not! 
"Out, damned spot!" 

By popular vote, then, the language of the New 
Testament relating to the lake of everlasting fire, 
is to be accepted as Oriental figures of speech. 
Hereafter Hell is to be dropped on poor old 
Milton's shoulders, as a show-place of the Greek 
imagination! En avant! 

"There is no doubt that Science clears religious 
thought. It removes from our minds all thoughts 

84 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

of God as a material being. It spiritualizes us. The 
essentials of religious faith it does not, it cannot 
touch! It purifies and enobles our conceptions of 
the Deity, and thus elevates the whole plan of Chris- 
tian belief." 

There is a divine mystery surrounding the veriest 
commonplaces of existence, which is not to be 
solved by fmite minds. Said Edison: "Show me 
how I am able to crook my little fmger; explain to 
me the combination of will and intelligence that 
enable me to crook my fmger, and I will tell you 
the secrets of Eternity." 

On the march to Winchester, Jackson passed us 
again, at a gallop — riding awkwardly. He seemed 
never to tire. Garlyle's expression typifies the man : 
"A fulgurous impetuosity almost beyond human." 
He rode bridle in one hand, the other hand pointing 
upward. Some considered this an act of devotion. 
But probably the position assisted the circulation 
in his wounded hand. On the eve of a battle, it 
was his habit to wrestle in prayer long into the 
night. However, he always observed Crockett's 
motto: "Trust in God, but keep your powder dry!" 

Jackson was a predestinarian from inheritance, 
environment, observation and experience; still 
there was a considerable dash of "Free Will" in his 
methods and practices. He never lost sight of the 
fact that God Almighty is on the side of the fellow 
that "gets thar fust-es with the most-es men!" as 
General Bedford Forrest observed. Napoleon's idea, 
in the frontiersman's mouth! 

That night. May 23rd, we were near Winchester. 
We threw out a strong picket line near the town — 
but the 21st Georgia regiment went into camp as 
usual. Our Quartermaster and Commissary 
wagon came up and we were made comfortable. 
The 21st Georgia Regiment was very fortunate in 
its field and staff-officers, and particularly in hav- 
ing Captain D. M. Hood for a Quartermaster. 

He was the soul of energy in caring for his regi- 

7 85 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

ment, . . . seeing that they got their share of supplies ; 
often by his alertness getting ahead of the other 
Quartermasters in time of scarcity, procuring for 
us clothing, blankets, shoes and hats. And as to 
beef! Why, he could "find cattle" as the Texan 
said, "Whur thar wuzn't no cattle!" "He was a 
genial gentleman, and kept his camp lively. After 
the war, he was one of Rome's progressive citizens. 
He married Mrs. Guyler, a sister of Lieutenant 
Colonel A. S. Hamilton. One of her daughters mar- 
ried Capt. Henry Hunter Smith, a noble Confederate 
soldier of Williamson County, Tennessee, a brother 
of Brigadier-General Preston Smith, who was killed 
leading his Tennessee Brigade, at Chickamauga, 
Mrs. H. H. Smith now resides on her magnificent 
cotton plantation, "Glower House," Jones County, 
Georgia. 

To return to narration. The next morning we 
advanced against Winchester, occupied by General 
N. P. Bank's Army. Trimble's Brigade going in 
on the Front Royal pike, from the east; and Tay- 
lor's Brigade, charging in on the Strasburg pike 
from the South. 

The 21st North Carolina regiment preceded 
us, marching by the flank in columns of fours, 
The 21st Georgia was formed in line of bat- 
tle, and was advancing, when a battery on a hill 
in the town opened upon us, wounding Lieutenant 
Green Butler, of the Rome Company ("B") and one 
or two men. At this instant a Regiment of Federals 
lying behind a stone wall, fired on the 21st North 
Carolina at close quarters, wounding all their field 
officers, and a few men. The Regiment was caught 
between two stone fences, and in trying to deploy 
were thrown into some confusion. Seeing their 
condition our Colonel (Mercer) filed us at double 
quick to the right, flanking the Yanks and pouring 
volleys into them as they retreated from behind 
their stone fence. 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

This movement relieved the Twenty-first North 
Carolina, who were fighting at a disadvantage, but 
showmg no symptoms of giving back. We received 
a volley from another Regiment behind a fence at 
right angles to the first, which volley wounded 
Lieut. Charles Easley through the lip, and several 
other men of my company received slight wounds. 
Strange to say they were all hit with buckshot. We 
kept going to the right, until we got in the rear of 
the enemy, who retreated through the town. 

This relieved the Twenty-first North Carolina, as 
stated, from a very critical situation. Now, from 
our elevated position— on a high hill— Taylor's 
Brigade could be seen advancing along the Strsa- 
burg pike under a galling fire from the enemy's 
battery and infantry, posted on a strongly fortified 
height. 

Moving as if on parade, with alert bearing, 
ryhthmic steps, eyes on the foe, they swept smooth- 
ly on over ledge and fence, to possess the heights 
Irom whence "suddenly" the enemy had melted 
away. Warm-hearted General Dick Ewell cheered 
until he was hoarse, as he led forward his men 
with renewed energy, and charged into Winchester, 
a quaint old town of some five thousand inhabitants. 

The two columns met in the street, as we came 
in from the eastern side of the town. General Tay- 
lor said of this attack: "In truth, it was a gallant 
feat of arms; worthy of the pen of him who im- 
mortahzed the charge of the 'Buffs' at Albuera " 
He mentioned also an incident of the moment. 

"A buxom dame with bright eyes and dainty 
ankles and not unconscious of her attractions was 
very demonstrative in her expressions. To the ad- 
vancing soldiery, she exclaimed: "Oh, you are too 
late ! Too late !" Whereupon a tall Creole from the 
1 ech sprang from the ranks of the Eighth Regiment 
just passing, clasped her in his arms, and impressed 
a kiss on her ripe lips. "Madama! Je n' arrive 

87 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Jamais troj) tard!" There was a loud laugh, and 
she escaped in confusion. 

We captured all of Bank's army trains and sup- 
plies, with many of his men; and would have cap- 
turned his army had we not been halted. 

By forming across the pike leading to Harper's 
Ferry, Trimble's Brigade might have cut off the re- 
treating foe. 

It was unmilitary in Gol. Kirkland, a West Pointer, 
to march his regiment into the town by the flank 
into the midst of an enemy protected by stone walls. 
The movement had been made successfully at Front 
Royal, and Kirkland thought to try it here. Here 
he was badly wounded; and when he got back to 
his Regiment, he was a Brigadier. 

An incident: As the 21st Georgia flanked to the 
right at double quick, we were passing a high stone 
wall. In the upper window of the house stood a 
lady frantically waving her handkerchief to us 
and pointing to a wall just beyond. We divined 
the meaning of the signal, and closed in under the 
wall just as a Yankee Regiment raised up and fired 
a broadside. Most of us were protected, but several 
were wounded, as already mentioned. 

Our loss would have been much more severe 
but for the flutter of that sweet little handkerchief. 
Many a gentle hand signalled hope and cheer, and 
God-speed, to us in those days; but this little hand- 
kerchief flutters in memory yet; with the tremor of 
an angel's wing. Nor was Desdemona's dainty 
'kerchief "broidered with strawberries" more fate- 
ful. 

While Bank's army retreated through the streets, a 
Winchester lady exclaimed to some of his soldiery, 
"You can insult women, but you can't stand your 
ground before our men." A Federal ofTicer drew 
his sword and struck her in the face. This atrocity 
aroused our men to vow vengeance. Ashby's cav- 
alry overtook and captured most of that regiment. 

88 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

As for the man who used his sword on a woman, 
why, . . . they lost him! 

On our way to Harper's Ferry, we met the cavalry 
guard going back to town with the captured Yanks. 
This was a Massachusetts Regiment, and every one 
of its officers was carrying "a nigger baby," as de- 
scribed by John Esten Cooke in "Surrey of Eagle's 
Nest." It was vitriolic ridicule. We taunted the 
"white nurses" as they passed. Their mortification 
was severe. 

This N. P. Banks, whose army we thus defeated, 
was from Massachusetts; and a noted Abolitionist. 
He was elected Speaker of the House of Representa- 
tives during Buchanan's administration. We shall 
have to mention him again. 

Jackson followed Banks to Harper's Perry, but 
could not remain to capture the place, as Fremont 
and Shields were converging in his rear; threaten- 
ing to capture the vast amount of army stores we 
had taken. 

The object of alarming Washington and prevent- 
ing McDowell from co-operating with McClellan 
had been accomplished. 

In the meantime Shields had reached Fort Royal 
with two Brigades and captured the town. We 
marched back through Winchester and on to Stras- 
burg. We found Fremont at Strasburg; threatening 
the wagon-train moving toward Staunton, (twelve 
miles of wagons, containing two million dollars 
worth of supplies.) 

Taylor's and Winder's Brigades were thrown into 
line of battle. Their skirmish lines drove Siegel's 
Division (Germans) back, pell-mell, to North Moun- 
tain. General Ewell wanted to follow them; but 
Jackson, who was back at Strasburg, forbabde it. 

Said Ewell: "Old Jack, sticks to the captured 
stores. He thinks there's some lemons in some of 
the sutler-wagons!" 

Jackson had Shields to guard against, and Lee's 
grand strategy against McGlellan must be promoted. 

89 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Dubbing Fremont's Army the "flying Dutchman." 
we resumed our march down the pike. Herewith 
Fremont lost his opportunity to re-capture the 
wagon-train. He had some good men. He should 
have remembered Washington's injunction: "Put 
none but Americans on guard tonight." 

The Louisiana Brigade was in the rear of the 
Division, and it was dark before they moved out of 
the town. When they were fairly out on the pike, 
and away from the town, we heard a great fusilade 
of small arms. We halted. Soon a courier came 
dashing by who said the 6th Louisiant (Irish Regi- 
ment) had repulsed a charge of cavalry, inflicting 
on them considerable loss. 

This cavalry of Fremont's showed great dash: 
in marked contrast to his infantry. In fact as 
one of our Irishmen remarked, "it was a foine night 
for divarsion, intirely." 

The next day the Stonewall Brigade, commanded 
by General Chas. Winder, relieved Taylor, and 
brought up the rear. They were hard pushed, until 
the arrival of General Ashby with his cavalry from 
Luray Valley, where he had been burning bridges 
to impede Shields. The enterprise displayed by the 
cavalry of Fremont and Banks was very creditable. 
In the absence of these two Generals, their forces 
Vi^eve much more efTective. It was an instance of 
the efficacy of "absent treatment!" 

Massanutton Mountain lies in the Shenandoah 
Valley, between Harrisonburg, and Winchester. We 
were marching in the main valley on the west side. 

On the East Side of Massanutton, General Shields 
was moving in the Luray Valey, parallel to us. Fre- 
m.ont rallied his forces and followed us with energy 
and overtook our rear guard early on the 6th of 
June. 

Jackson's column had abandoned the main 
valley pike at Harrisburg, turning to the left. His 
long, captured train was then well on its way and 
out of danger. It was thought our General intended 

90 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

to attack and overwhelm Shields, and then turn on 
Fremont, but we had to fight the latter at Gross- 
Keys. 

Ashby's Cavalry was skirmishing with Fre- 
mont's advanced guard of cavalry, and had been 
quite successful in resisting a charge of one of their 
brigades, capturing the officer commanding, and a 
large number of prisoners; among them was Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Kane, of Philadelphia, son of the 
Arctic explorer. 

Pressed heavily by the enemy's Infantry, 
which had come up, Ashby asked for support. 
General Ewell sent him the 48th and 49th Virginia 
Regiments, and the 1st Maryland Infantry (Gol. B. 
T. Johnson). In placing them in position, Ashby 
was killed. 

In the affair of the rear guard at Harrisburg, 6th 
of June, \S62, the 1st Maryland Regiment (Gol. 
Bradley T. Johnson) was ordered by General Ewell 
to charge through the woods to the left. A volley 
from the enemy killed the horses of Johnson and 
Asbbv. and a second later, Ashby was killed. 

Johnson disentangled himself from his dead 
horse, and led his regiment on, capturing many of 
the pn^my and their commanding officer. Lieutenant 
Colonel Kane, who was wounded. 

When, on June 8th, the 1st Maryland was moving 
into the battle of Gross Keys, General Ewell directed 
CoIoupI Johnson to carry one of the buck-tails cap- 
tured from the enemy affixed to his colors, as a 
trophv. It was borne aloft in triumph, as Johnson's 
men drove three regiments from the field! The 1st 
Maryland, (Confederate Infantry) was unsurpassed. 

General Dick Taylor was an eye-witness of one of 
the fleers of Fortune and War on the field where 
Asbbv fell. 

As thp body of the Federal horse just cap- 
tured was passing to the rear — under guard and dis- 
monnteH — there strode by with the rest of the pris- 
on prs, a very distinguishod-Inoking General officer. 

91 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Says Taylor: "I noticed a stalwart man with huge 
mustache, cavalry boots adorned with spurs worthy 
of a caballero, slouched hat and plume. He had 
been dismounted, and strode along with the non- 
chalant air of one who had wooed Dame Fortune 
too long to be cast down by her frowns. 

They reached my (Taylors) Brigade, and were 
passing on. Suddenly Major Wheat, of the Tiger 
Battalion, sprang from his horse with a cry of: 
"Percy, old boy!" "Why, Bob?" was echoed back; 
and a warm greeting was exchanged. Colonel 
Percy Wyndham, an Englishman in the Federal 
service, commanding a New Jersey Regiment, had 
last parted with Wheat in Italy, where the pleasant 
business of killing was going on under Garibaldi. 

They now fraternized as has been described. Poor 
Wheat! A month later, and he slept his last sleep 
on the bloody field of Gold Harbor! 

The 21st Georgia was resting on the road when 
Ashby's body was brought by us on a litter. Of 
him, Jackson said: "As a partisan officer, I never 
knew his superior." Said Taylor: 

"He was the most daring and accomplished rider 
in a region of horsemen. With proper organization 
and discipline, the bold riders under him might 
have accomplished all the lamented Nolan claimed 
as possible for light cavalry." 

John Esten Cooke, his personal friend, said of 
him: "Ashby was dead! He came and went like 
a dream. He was born king of battle. It kindled 
the "gaudium certaminis" in his clear brown eyes. 
He was plainly, then, in his closen element. He com- 
bined the virtues of Sir Philip Sidney, with the dash 
of Mupat. His fame will live in the Valley of Vir- 
gina as long as its hills and mountains shall en- 
dure." 

We Georgians had learned to love him. All the 
world must have admired him! Ashby was like 
Claverhouse, his was a face that "painters loved to 
limn, and ladies lovpd to look upon." 

92 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

In truth the passage of this funeral cortege was 
a sight that went to our hearts. We longed for the 
opportunity to avenge his death. It came soon at 
Gross Keyes, 8th June, and right well did we use it. 

General Ewell, learning that the enemy was trying 
to pass around his right flank, to connect with 
Shields, ordered our General, Trimble, to ascertain 
their direction, and intercept them. 

Trimble selected the 21st Georgia. By a circuit- 
ous route through the woods, parallel to the route 
his scouts informed him the enemy was taking, we 
marched. He formed our regiment in line, and 
ordered them to lie down concealed behind a fence, 
on the edge of a wood, skirting a clover-field. 

Through this field the unconscious enemy was ad- 
vancing without a skirmish line. Colonel Mercer 
waited until they got in forty yards of our fence. 
Then we fired. The blue-coats halted, and tried to 
return the fire; we gave them two more rounds, 
then charged over the fence. 

We were armed with old-fashioned muzzle-load- 
ing muskets, that had been changed from flint fire, 
to percussion cap. Of course black powder was used, 
and in the cartridges was a round ball and three 
buckshot. Some of the men said they fired cart- 
ridges containing twelve buckshot that they had got 
from the cavalry-men who were armed with shot- 
guns. It was a mighty destructive weapon at close 
range. 

The smoke and fog prevented my seeing the effect 
of our fire until I mounted the fence. I then no- 
ticed that the enemy were in great confusion; but 
when we reached their line, we saw a most appall- 
ing sight. There, lay in the clover, most of the 8th 
New York Regiment, either dead or wounded, all 
Germans. 

The remnant were retreating to a ditch at the foot 
of the hill, where we captured them, as we ad- 
vanced to the aid of the 16th Mississippi Regiment. 

We went at double quick, and met the litter-bear- 

93 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

ers taking Colonel Posey, of that Reginaent, to the 
rear, badly wounded. 

The 16th Mississippi was fighting Blenker's Bri- 
gade and were at a disadvantage when shooting at 
a distance as they were outnumbered. We charged 
right over them into the woods; the Germans broke 
and wo followed, firing and capturing until ordered 
to stop. 

Fremont's army was in full retreat on Harrison- 
burg. We followed them a mile or two, but the pur- 
sr.it was stopped, because Shields had taken posses- 
sion of Port Republic bridge. Fremont's force con- 
sistpd of six brigades, viz: Blenker's, Milroy's, 
Stabl's, Sfpinwher's and another, and one brigade of 
cavalry. 

Ew^ll had three brigades: Elzey's, Stewart's and 
Trinblp's; Taylor not having come up in time. We 
were marched back to the initial point of our battle. 

Trimble's Brigade was resting, where we had 
fought the 8th New York in the morning, near 
the Gross-Keyes (Dunkards) Church. The Louis- 
iana Brigade marched up in quick time, by the 
flank, each "fours" in perfect line. Arms at "right 
shoulder shift." The 6th Louisiana was near us. 
Their old Colonel (Seymour), a martial man, with 
Icnsr. silvery locks, whirlpd his horse and gave the 
command, "Battalion Halt". "Front! Right Dress! 
Every rifle was quickly brought to "Shoulder Arms" 
(Hardee) and the alignment perfected without a 
wobble. At the command "Order Arms" the rifles 
of 800 men struck the ground as one man, "Fix 
Bavonf^ts". Stack Arms!" "Break Ranks!" 

The Captains ordered their men not to wander far, 
as they would resume the march in a short time. 
Many of thesr' men seized the opnortunity to loot. My 
m^n had not yet got hardened pnouerb to rob the 
d-^ad, so they were looking on. One of these Irish- 
men was asked "if they were going to meet Shields, 
and if they knew hp was an Irishman and had 
Tn'^ir>no. and Irish rpcriments with him?" "Yes," 

94 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

said he, "we know of his proximity," and as he 
turned a Dutchman over to relieve him of his un- 
needed personal belongings, "These German- 
bounty-men are poor creatures, but Shields' boys 
will be after fighting; this fellow will not need his 
watch where he has gone, as time is nothing there, 
and the burial corps will soon get everything that's 
left. These dom non-combatants get too much 
already; they don't fight for." 

They had heard of General Shields and that he 
had Irish and Indiana Regiments with him. Since 
the time of Arminius, the Germans have been a 
brave people; today in military renown they lead 
the van of the nations; but they require a cause. In 
our Revolutionary struggle, the Hessians (who were 
hireling's) were unfortunate at Saratoga, Benning- 
ton and Trenton, There were good German soldiers 
in our Civil War in regiments mixed with Ameri- 
cans, and there were many good officers like Carl 
Shurz and Rosecrans, and Siegle, and Steinwehr. 

Doubtless there were German Regiments who 
were exceptions to the sweeping charge that they 
were not dependable. General Richard Taylor tells 
of one. He says : "In the fighting at Mansfield and 
othpr places in Louisiana, that resulted in the defeat 
of General N. P. Bank's Red River Expedition, none 
of my regiments did better than Colonel Buchell's 
regiment of Germans; raised around New Braunfels, 
Texas. 

They had been in Texas for some years and had 
nau.orht the spirit." had an idea they were fighting 
for their adopted country, not for bounty. In con- 
trast to Seigle's division in the valley. But to return 
to the charge on the 8th New York. As we jumped 
over the fence, T heard the sharp crack of a small 
pistol, and saw the weapon in the hand of Ist Lieu- 
tenant Kinch R. Foster, of Company "K." Just then 
one of his men (a mere boy) turned and said. "Lieu- 
tenant, you shot me." His captain, John Akridge, 
accused Foster of shooting the boy. The Lieutenant 

99 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

denied it, and the boy's Captain appealed to me. I 
said, "That can be attended to hereafter; we have 
plenty of Yanks to fight now, come on!" After the 
battle Akridge took up his charge against Foster. 
As I witnessed the afTair, Captain Akridge insisted 
on my going with them back to where the surgeons 
were operating. When we reached the spot, there 
lay the boy, Tate, against a tree, waiting for his turn 
to be put on the "table." When the wound was ex- 
amined, it proved to be slight, and in the fatty part 
of the back. The surgeon's probe extracted the ball, 
which was a .22 calibre, rifled to fit Foster's little 
pistol. Then old Akridge swore like the "Army in 
Flanders" and his remarks about Foster made 
things look blue, and gave the atmosphere all 
around there a bluish tinge. He said Foster was so 
scared he didnt know his own men from the 
Yankees; and divers other things about "an officer 
that would carry such a damnable little weapon!" 
There would have been a serious personal encounter 
between these two but for the Yank's proximity. 

Old Captain Akridge's affection for his men, espe- 
cially for this boy Tate, reminded me of Uncle (Cap- 
tain) Toby's for his men in Flanders, particularly 
for "Corporal Trim." 

In his report of the battle of Cross-Keys, fought 
June 6th, 1862, Major-General Ewell says: "Brig- 
adier Trimble's Brigade (7th) bore the brunt of the 
action and is entitled to most thanks." Trimble's 
Brigade was left at Gross-Keys to watch Fremont, 
who had halted at Harrisonburg. 

On the 8th we fell back, and as we crossed the lit- 
tle stream at Port Republic on the 9th, Winder's 
(Virginia) Brigade and Taylor's (Louisiana) Bri- 
gade were hotly engaged, and we took position in 
support. 

Shield's force had been driven from the 
town of Port Republic and had taken a strong posi- 
tion on the Lewis farm two miles away, his line 
extending from the foot of the mountain across the 

96 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

river — bottom fields, to the Shenandoah. Shields, 
himself, was back a few miles off at Conrad's store 
with two Brigades of his Division. 

The two Brigades fighting were commanded by 
Brigadier General Tyler. One was Indiana and the 
other Connecticut troops, (I believe). He advanced 
them and checked Winder's and Taylor's charge on 
his battery. The Lewis House was his center; sit- 
uated on a plateau overlooking the field. 

Here he placed his artillery which raked 
our lines on all sides. Jackson soon saw that 
the battery would have to be taken by a 
flank movement. Taylor had just commenced this 
movement with the 6th Louisiana and Wheat's Bat- 
talion, as we arrived. They climbed the side of the 
Mountain unperceived and gained a position where 
they could reach the battery with their small arms. 
As soon as their fire took elTect, they charged and 
captured the battery. In the meantime, General 
Tyler (Union) had sent additional supports, who 
charged, after a desperate struggle, recaptured the 
battery. Taylor rallied his 6th, and the 7th Louis- 
iana coming up, led them in another charge. The 
battery was again recaptured for the second time. 
The supports were retreating. The captured guns 
were turned on them, Major-General Ewell serving 
one of the guns. General Shields could be seen 
marching up. with the rest of his Division, but was 
too late to stop the rout, as all of Jackson's Corps 
was then up and in line. 

General Taylor, in writing of this fight, said : "As 
the Argyle to the Tartan, my heart has warmed to 
an Irishman, since that day." The fighting in and 
around the battery was hand to hand, and many fell 
from bayonet wounds. Even the artillery-men used 
their rammers in a way not laid down in the man- 
ual; and died at their guns. 'Twas claw for claw, 
as Conan said to the Devil. Jackson rode up just as 
the guns had been turned on the retreating enemy; 

97 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

his eyes glistening with the excitement of the battle 
and ambition. 

"An ambition that would climb to the stars; a 
piety that would humble his spirit down into the 
dust." "Apollyon and Christian in ceaseless com- 
bat!" He presented the battery to General Taylor. 

Shields retreated, pursued by Ashby's Cavalry, 
who captured four hundred and fifty prisoners and 
another piece of artillery. They had made a gallant 
fight like true Americans, and fell back in good 
order to form another line four miles away, in 
marked contrast to Fremont's precipitate flight two 
days before. Shields says he had eight thousand 
men, but not all engaged. Jackson had four thou- 
sand engaged; Winder's and Taylor's Brigades. 
While this fight was progressing, Freemont ad- 
vanced to the heights across the little river, looked 
on, and threw a few shells at us; but never offered 
to help poor Shields, who afterwards complained 
about his inaction, in a report which Shields says 
was suppressed. It is not in the Goveryiment Re- 
ports. Freemont and Banks being pets of the ad- 
ministration. What a sorry spectacle did these two 
make — as Generals! A part of Shields' Division 
fought at Port Republic, but Shields himself was 
not on the field. This man was the hero of Kerns- 
town, and a skilled soldier. During the Mexican 
War he was three times wounded; winning great 
honor, and promotion to the rank of Brevet Major- 
General. He then commanded the Indiana troops. 
During the Civil War, wherever stationed, he did 
his whole duty. As a politician he was a remark- 
able figure. Represented three states, California, 
Illinois and Missouri, in the United States Congress 
at difTerent times. He became poor, and died a few 
years ago; soon after his defeat for Door-keeper of 
the House of Representatives. A gallant, noble, 
Irish soldier! A successful, but honest, politician! 
Peace to his ashes. 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

But the hero on the Federal side in the battle of 
Port Republic was Brigadier General Daniel Tyler. 
He was an old acquaintance of mine, and now after 
many years we had met under peculiar circum- 
stances. When I was a kid in the forties, a railroad 
from Macon to Atlanta was projected. Daniel Ty- 
ler, an ironmaster of Pennsylvania, was President 
of the construction company, and for a time was 
about Macon a good deal. After the railroad was 
finished it was called the Macon and Western Rail- 
road, and Isaac Scott, a banker of Macon, was made 
President, and Alfred Tyler, a son of Dan Tyler, was 
superintendent. 

Alfred married Annie Scott, daughter of the Pres- 
ident of the railroad. She was my neighbor and 
schoolmate. Daniel Tyler returned North, and the 
next I heard of him was as commander of one of 
McDowell's brigades at "Bull Run." After that he 
did not figure prominently, but finally turned up 
here with Shields. He was a good officer, educated 
at West Point, appointed from Connecticut, but re- 
signed to go into the iron business in Pennsylvania. 
After the Civil war General Tyler and his son, 
Alfred, joined with the Nobles of Rome, Georgia, 
and built an iron furnace and cotton factory in 
Calhoun County, Alabama; on the Georgia Pacific, 
and Selma, Rome and Dalton Railroads. 

They called the station Anniston — after Mrs. An- 
nie Scott Tyler, and now, as is well known, the 
place has grown to be a big manufacturing city: 
the outcome, mainly, of the force and energy of 
Tyler and Noble. 

The fact that General Tyler was identified with 
Southern progress before and after the war and the 
Federal hero of this fight, causes me to stop in my 
narrative to give him this well deserved notice. 

The hero par-excellence of this bloody little battle 
was Dick Taylor. He designed the plan that re- 
sulted in the capture of the strong position, and 
finally held it against all odds and persistent cour- 

99 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

age: and because he accompanied the assaulting 
force, and was in the thickest of the fray. Because 
too, he trained the Brigade that could successfully 
accomplish that heroic feat of arms. 

He was a son of President Taylor, "Old Rough" 
and Ready". Born in Virginia, reared in Kentucky, 
a graduate of West Point, he served with distinction 
on his father's staff in Mexico; and received pro- 
motion. After that war, he resigned from the army 
and operated a sugar plantation in St. Charles 
Parish, Louisiana. He was a member of the Louis- 
iana State convention in 1861 and took a stand 
against secession. At the outbreak of the Civil War. 
he was appointed Colonel of the 9th Louisiana In- 
fantry. After Bull Run he was promoted Brigadier- 
General. His Brigade consisted of the 6th, 7th, 8th 
and 9th Louisiana regiments Infantry, and Wheat's 
Zouave Battalion, and was assigned to Ewell's Di- 
vision. 

General Taylor was promoted Major General in 
1862, and sent to ihe command of the Red River 
district of Louisiana, where he defeated the Banks 
and Porter expedition on the Red River. He was 
made a Lieutenant General in 1864 and was in com- 
mand of the Department, Alabama and Mississippi, 
when the Confederacy collapsed. He surrendered 
Mobile, and the forces of his department, to Major 
General Ganby. Gallant, polished, scholarly, his 
mental gifts were of the highest order. And he 
was a diamond of repartee! 

On one occasion, at a dinner in New Orleans, the 
prosy host lugged in a topic as heavy and hopeless 
as a snow-man. The dinner-table became a lecture- 
platform. The guests were reduced to silence. The 
profound monologue rolled on: "Yes, gentlemen; 
science has made such strides that we now take 
Mercury in our arms; measure his weight, and 
span his form!" 

100 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

Taylor's arrow was in the air. He rejoined: — 
hastily enough— "We do, indeed, sir. And we take 
Venus in our arms, and do the same thing!" 

Amid a burst of applause, the snow-man fell with 
a dull thud : and tongues were loosed. 

While in London, at one time. General Taylor 
made one of the party accompanying the Prince of 
Wales to the Ascot races. Some question about the 
score coming up, the Duke of Buckingham said to 
Taylor: "See what the score is, Taylor;" "Send 
your groom. Duke:" responded the Southerner. 
Whereupon his Royal Highness said quietly to his 
guest: "I'm glad you did that, Taylor. Bucking- 
ham has such a lot of cheek!" 

It w^as at Port Republic that Jackson came so 
near being captured. Of this episode, various ac- 
counts are given. Then and there it was said that 
after the Cross Keys fight Jackson and his staff rode 
over into the town to reconnoitre: remaining there 
for the night. At a still later hour Shields' cavalry 
arrived; and occupied the village: unsuspicious of 
Jackson's proximity. Very early next morning 
Jackson rode out to recross the bridge which lay 
between the Confederates and their camp. He 
found it guarded by men in blue, and a piece of 
artillery. Seeing that he was cut off, Jackson ad- 
vanced; and rising in his stirrups he called sternly 
to the Federal officer commanding the gun: "Who 
ordered you to put that gun there, sir? Bring it 
here!" It was the voice of command. The officer 
saluted and limbered up the gun. As soon as the 
piece was in such a position that it could not be 
quickly fired, Jackson put spurs to his horse and 
galloped across the bridge, followed by his stall. 
The fog was dense, and consequently it was hard 
to discern friend from foe. The officer, however, 
managed to send three shots after him and his 
party. Galloping forward he ordered up a piece of 
artillery and Winder's brigade. The artillery was 
rushed down to the bridge, shotted and swept it; 

8 101 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

as the 37th Virginia, following, charged across the 
Federal Cavalry was dispersed and their gun cap- 
tured. The enemy advanced (Carroll's Brigade). 
They were driven back by Jackson's battery; and 
retreated as T have stated, to the Lewis farm. 

Freemont's force was twenty thousand, Shield's 
(at Conrad's store) eight thousand. McDowell was 
at Front Royal with eight thousand more. Total, 
thirty-six thousand Infantry, and two brigades cav- 
alry; with orders to bag Jackson, recapture the 
train and supplies he had taken from Banks — worth 
over two million dollars — with several thousand 
prisoners. 

Now, however, these had passed over the moun- 
tain and were safe in Charlottesville. Although 
Kernstown was a defeat to Jackson, Shields having 
eleven thousand men present, instead of three thou- 
sand, as x\shby had reported lo Jackson, still the 
fight had a good effect. The defeat of Banks, Fre- 
jmont and Shields neutralized a large part of the 
force that was to operate with McClellan. 

After Winchester, President Lincoln counter- 
manded McDowell's advance from Frederickburg to 
unite with McClellan, and directed him to put 
twenty thousand men in motion for the valley. 
General McDowell remonstrated. But Jackson had 
created the panic at Washington that was to break 
up the designs against thp Confederate capitol. In 
one month we had marched over five hundred 
miles. The march from Harper's Ferry to Stras- 
burg, fifty miles, was made in twenty-four hours. 
We needed a rest and a general wash-up, so "Old 
Jack" put us into permanent camp near Wier's 
Cave, the famous natural wonder at the foot of the 
Blue Ridge. 

The delightful repose after this arduous cam- 
paign, "how sweet the memory still:" all of our 
foes in retreat, we — resting on our laurels — the Val- 
ley redeemed. 

"Once more the Golden Horse Shoe Knights, 

102 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

Their 'Old Dominions' keep, 

Her foes have found enchanted ground 

But not a Knight asleep". 
As to results in this exciting month's campaign, 
Jackson made great captures of stores and prison- 
ers: but this was not its chief result. Without 
gaining a single sweeping victory, he had yet 
achieved a great strategic success; for by skillfully 
manoeuvering fifteen thousand men, he succeeded 
in neutralizing a force of sixty thousand. It is 
perhaps not too much to say that he saved Rich- 
mond. As to results at Washington, says a north- 
ern writer: "General Panic was at the head of the 
military advisers of the President: who can number 
the lives, who can estimate the money, the rule of 
that commander ultimately cost the country?" 

During this interval of rest, I had the oppor- 
tunity to study the surrounding country. Con- 
versant with ex-Governor Geo. R. Gilmer's "Rem- 
iniscences" of this locality, its historic associations 
were of the utmost interest to me. Speaking of this 
Lewis Homestead, Gov. Gilmer wrote, "When the 
painter's art does justice to the beautiful and sub- 
lime scenery of the romantic valley of the Shenan- 
doah, this place, will become celebrated as one of 
the most picturesque in our country". As Gov. 
Gilmer and my grandfather, Dr. Jno. Wingfield, of 
Madison, Georgia, were close personal and political 
friends, I had heard the Governor's book discussed, 
and became familiar with the Gilmer, Meriwether 
and Lewis family history in Virginia, and after- 
wards on Broad River in Georgia. 

The battle of Port Republic was a victory with 
a historic setting. W^e had no time to waste on 
history, then. But today, this battle is looked upon 
with added interest because the storm center of the 
conflict was around the "Lewis House", built by 
General Chas. Lewis and owned then by that fam- 
ily. No family of Colonial and Revolutionary 
times established a more enduring record than that 

103 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

founded by John Lewis. He was a native of 
"County Dublin", Ireland; his grand-father having 
moved there from Wales, during the Civil Wars of 
the time of Charles the First. 

What a fine stock of people did old Europe give 
up to the United States, or the American Colonies 
I should say, in the Century and a half from 1620 
to 1775, the outcome of religious intolerance and 
Persecution! Fanaticism became a feeder! 

John Lewis settled in Augusta County, near 
Staunton; was a surveyor, and acquired much land 
of value. The Warm and Sweet Springs belonged 
to him. At that time any one could secure from the 
Government as much land as he could pay for. He 
had four sons, Thomas, Andrew, Charles and Wil- 
liam Lewis. Thomas, the eldest, became the Colo- 
nial surveyor of Augusta County, which then in- 
cluded in its limits, most of what is now knov^^n as 
West Virginia. 

A part of General Washington's great wealth was 
obtained by surveys of land made by Lewis, or un- 
der his authority. 

Washington and Lewis were associates in this 
work. These lands are said to have embraced Blen- 
nerhasset's Island in the Ohio River off the mouth 
of the Little Kanawha, tw^o miles below Parkers- 
burg. Blennerhasset bought the island and gave it 
his name; it became historic in connection with the 
Aaron Burr conspiracy. 

After the Revolutionary War, General Washing- 
ton passed several days at Lewis House, arranging 
their land claims : "A visit as well remembered as 
King Charles" to "Tillietudlum". Says Gilmer, 
"My father then a youth of nineteen, returning from 
my grand-father Lewis' where he had been visiting 
my mother, met General Washington fording the 
Shenandoah River, in the dusk of the evening. 
General Washington asked him how he should go 
to Col. Lewis's. My father, mistaking him for some 
big Dutchman of the neighborhood who was pok- 

104 



THE VALLEY CAMPAIGN 

ing fun at him for his frequent visits to his sweet- 
heart there, (Miss Lewis) answered, 'Follow your 
nose'. General Andrew Lewis was in command at 
the important battle of Point Pleasant, October 1st, 
1774, fought at the junction of the Kenawha River 
with the Ohio; where the town of Point Pleasant 
now stands. He had two Virginia Regiments, one 
of which was commanded by his brother, Col. Gha-;^. 
Lewis, who was killed. This decisive battle broke 
the power of the Indians, and compelled a peace 
which enabled the veterans of the Colony of Vir- 
ginia to go with Washington in the Revolution. 

Andrew Lewis commanded a brigade at Valley 
F'.Tge, in the Jersey campaign and at Yorktown. 
The Lewises' were related to the Jeffersons, Ran- 
dolphs and Washingtons. 

But the best known man of this celebrated family 
was Meriwether Lewis, President Jefferson's private 
seceretary. President Jefferson appointed Lewis 
chief of the survey to lay off the boundary line 
between Canada and the Louisiana Purchase. Capt. 
Rogers Clark of the United States x\rmy was selected 
to assist him. 

The surveying party started at St, Louis, Mo, They 
ascended the Missouri River to its head in Montana. 
Discovered the Shoshone Indians; who guided them 
across the Rocky mountains to the Columbia river, 
which they descended to the Pacific Ocean. The 
Lewis and Clarke expedition is Homeric, The line 
established by them was accepted by Great Britain. 
Hitherto the British Government had laid claim lO 
Oregon. 

Meriwether Lewis was afterwards appointed by 
President Jefferson Governor of the territory of 
Missouri, Whilst traveling to Washington, D. C, 
on business, by private conveyance, he was assas- 
sinated and robbed by unknown parties, at a small 
wayside Inn in Middle Tennessee, where he had 
stopped for the night. He was buried there. The 
State has erected a monument to his memory and 
named the county "Lewis" in his honor, 

105 



XI. 

"ON TO RICHMOND." 

We were encamped near Wier's Gave until about 
the 17th of June, when we commenced our march 
to reinforce Lee at Richmond. Grossing the Blue 
Ridge at Brown's Gap, we marched to Charlottes- 
ville, where our Brigade bivouacked in the campus 
of the University of Virginia. 

Again, a digression: or as Lawrence Sterne stops 
to say, "Will your worships give me leave to 
squeeze in a story between these two pages?" By 
the way, is it not largely for the sake of his lively 
digressions that the world still loves to read old 
Plutarch? — who held that digression should be used 
"as side-lights, that truly illuminate." "On a few 
occasions it is considered a not unworthy practice 
for the Chronicler to mention other matters, for the 
sake of the interest in them, and as bearing upon 
his point." 

So, Plutarch writing of Alexander's invasion of 
Asia, gossips of General Haspoler who had been left 
as Governor of Macedonia : of his planting certain 
flowers and vines in the palace grounds of the cap- 
ital — spite of the opinion that they could not flourish 
in such a northerly climate — and of how well they 
grew. It is a legeyide de siecle; but gives us a 
glimpse of the aesthetic side of the fierce Mace- 
donian. 

From the campus of the Virginia University. 
Monticello was in full view. The home of Thomas 
Jpfferson is perched on the side of Garter's moun- 
tain ; a suar-loaf shaped eminence, rising five hun- 

106 



ON TO RICHMOND 

dred and eighiy-five feet obove the plain. Monti- 
cello was the pride of the author of the Declaration 
of Independence and third President of the United 
States. He, and members of his family are buried 
there. The name— Italian for "little mountain"— 
is pronounced by Virginians in the Italian man- 
ner, "Montechello." The estate lies three miles from 
Shadwell, birthplace of Jefferson, and Jour from the 
town of Charlottesville, seat of the University of 
Virginia; founded by Jefferson. It is sixty miles 
from Richmond, and about a hundred miles from 
Washington. Monticello commands one of the 
finest views in Virginia. Some of our troops mani- 
fested enough interest in the Father of Democracy 
to visit the sacred spot. They knew of him as the 
author of the Declaration of Independence; the 
President of the United States; but had not read 
his works, A few days later, as we marched 
through Orange County we passed the birth-place 
and old home of General Zachary Taylor. He, hav- 
ing been a military man, as well as President, in- 
terested the men more. The hero of the masses is 
th^ military hero. 

Albeit, Jefferson is the greatest man xVmerica 
has ever produced, save Washington. What testi- 
monials to his genius the Declaration of Independ- 
ence and the Constitution of Virginia! "Religious 
Freedom." "Abolition of the Laws of Primogeni- 
ture." "The Law of Entail." And lastly, "States 
Rights," and "States Sovereignty." In the two lat- 
ter — basic Democratic principles — he was opposed 
by Hamilton, Adams, and even Washington; who 
feared that to grant too much liberty to the people 
might lead to anarchy. But the chart that Jeffer- 
son left us, will ever be the protection of our liber- 
ties 

He secured coimtless benefits to the people, and 
the "Louisiana Purchase" is a monument to his ad- 
ministration. 

1G7 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

On his death-bed he requested that he be buried 
at Monticello; with no other inscription on his tomb 
than this: 

"Here is buried 
Thomas Jefferson 
Author of the Declaration of American Independ- 
ence. 

Of statute of Virginia for ReUgious Freedom. 
And Father of the University of Virginia." 

"The civil deeds of statesmen and lawgivers, in 
establishing and forming institutions, are far less 
apt to attract and hold the attention of mankind 
than the achievements of military life. The name, 
indeed, may be forever associated with the work of 
the hand, but the mass of mankind do not study, 
admire, or respect the deeds of the lawgiver as they 
do those of the hero. Yet he who has formed a law, 
or fashioned an institution in which some great 
idea is made practicable, is to be accounted among 
the greatest benefactors of mankind." 

Jefferson stood for the happiness and freedom of 
the individual against a too-absolute Government. 
Today, the threat is not so much from Govern- 
mental powers as from the influence of money- 
combinations upon the Government. 

I was familiar with the history of the University, 
as three of my Wingfield uncles were educated 
there. I recalled a story they told — the sensation of 
their college days — about the professor who was 
killed by one of the students, Joe Semmes, of 
Georgia. The parties to the affair were all wealthy 
and influential; and there was no end of a row. 
Semmes was a brother of Admiral Raphael Sem- 
mes The father of these salient sons, many years 
before the bloody tragedy, had gone from Virginia 
to Georgia, and settled a plantation in Wilkes 
County. 

It was found when we reached Charlottesville 
that there had been much straggling, as many of 
Jackson's corps were still footsore as a result of 

108 



ON TO RICHMOND 

the Valley Campaign. It was determined to estab- 
lish a temporary camp on Meacham River; and I 
was detailed to take command of it and collect the 
stragglers as they caught up. I formed a guard and 
put them on the roads; with orders to halt all that 
came along and march them to camp. 

The poor fellows were glad to find a good resting 
place and rations. I soon had over one thousand 
men, among them were many professional strag- 
glers who stayed behind to live on the fat of the 
land. Citizens complained that they were commit- 
ting depredations. 

I let them recuperate three days, and not being 
able to stop their foragings, concluded they were 
well, and found that I had orders to go to Gordon- 
ville at once. 

I secured a train, struck tents, and ran them 
down there. I drew them up in line, made them 
an affectionate farewell talk, and dismissed them 
with instructions to find their regiments, which 
were nearby, do their duty, and help to save Rich- 
mond. 

The stragglers from my own Rrigade I organized 
into a company and marched them to Ashland, 
where they found their regiments. As we hurried 
thence, the fight at Mechanicsville, Ellison's Mill, 
and Hanover Court House, could be plainly heard. 
Richmond could be seen from the two first named 
points 

McClellan was getting up uncomfortably close to 
his objective point, and it looked as if his promise 
that Lincoln should dine in Richmond with him on 
July 4th, would be fulfilled. 

"Gold Harbor." June 27, 1802. 
On June 27th, Ewell's Division was in the rear of 
McGlellan's right wing. We found Fitz-John Por- 
ter's corps fortified at Gold Harbor. They occupied 
a plateau steep enough for their artillery to shoot 
over his three lines of infantry, placed in rifl'^ pits 

109 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

on the slope. It was an ideal place for defense, 
from a frontal attack. 

Trimble's Brigade occupied second line, support- 
ing Taylor's Brigade. That brigade, after a gallant 
charge, failed to carry the position and were com- 
pelled to retire. We were in an old field, waiting 
to be ordered in. Our colonel had been imbibing 
freely of the ardent, and had dismounted and gone 
to sleep in a pine thicket, and it was impossible to 
arouse him. 

The line officers sent for General Trimble, who, 
on seeing our colonel's condition, ordered Lt. Col. 
Hooper to take command of the 21st Georgia Regi- 
ment, and instructed his adjutant to put Col. Mercer 
under arrest when he aroused. 

Just then we were ordered in. We met the 
Louisiana brigade coming out in good order. One 
said, "Boys, you are mighty good, but that's h — 11 
in there" We got to a ridge in close rifle range to 
the entrenched enemy. Their three lines were firing 
and their artillery played on us, and over Federal 
heads. W^e were suffering terribly, and should have 
been ordered back to get the shelter of the hill. Lt. 
Easley and six of my company had been killed, and 
about ten men wounded. 

Lt. Col. Hooper came down the line, his arm 
broken, and bleeding profusely. He said he would 
go back to the surgeons, and placed me in command 
of the regiment, saying, "Captain Waddail," {Co, 
"C") "waives his seniority in your favor." 

I hastened down the line, ordering the officers to 
draw their companies back so as to be sheltered by 
the crest of the hill, and at the command, "For- 
ward!" to advance over the hill, in double quick! 
time, to the ravine just under the enemy's first line 
of riflf-pits; then, to lie down. This was done; the 
m^n firing from there with better effect. Soon a 
•^hprue was ordered and as we sprang forward. I 
noticed that the enemy was retreating up the hill 
tov/ard? th'^ir battery. We followed closely, pour- 

110 



ON TO RICHMOND 

ing into them a steady fire, and had our innings 
for the loss they had infUcted on us. 

The battery continued to fire until we got well 
up to them. A shell bursting just as it passed me, 
the concussion blew me up in the air six or eight 
feet. I turned a complete somersault, but lit on my 
all fours, as the men passed me towards the battery. 
As I sped through the air, I thought my legs had 
been cut off by the shell and that the upper part 
of my body was flying through space. I instinct- 
ively felt for my limbs, and found they were all 
right before I came to the ground. 

We were so close to the cannon that grains of un- 
burnt powder had stung my face, and that, with the 
dense smoke, nearly blinded me. Fragments of 
that same shell, wounded two of my company se- 
verely. 

Our division line captured twenty-six guns on 
that hill. We loaded the six pieces we captured and 
turned them towards a regiment we saw coming 
up a ravine behind us. 

It was now dusk, and the smoke of the battle- 
field enwrapt us in a black pall. Hood's (Texas) 
and Stiles' (Georgia) Brigades hurried by us, going 
in pursuit. We could not tell whether the regiment 
we saw coming from behind were friends or foes. 
They halted as if in doubt as to who we were. I 
ordered Sergt. Joe Glover, our color bearer, to step 
forward and unfurl his flag, which he did, and was 
shot through the calf of the leg by some one in that 
regiment. It was all we could do to keep our men 
from opening on them with small arms and artill- 
ery. However, we waved a handkerchief, and they 
did the same; and on finding out that they were 
surrounded, surrendered. 

We did not rejoin our brigade that night, but 
bivouacked right there, looking after our dead and 
wounded before lying down to rest. 

We had captured the camp of the Pennsylvania 
"Buck-tails," intact: so we had plenty of rations, 

111 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

including the "gen-u-ine," unadulterated coffee. 
There was a yellow vegetable in fifty pound caddies, 
the men would not eat. They said it was something 
the Yankees had poisoned. I knew it was pressed 
carrots, and had some of it put in my beef soup. 
The men finding that I had not died from its ef- 
fects during the night, "jumped on it" voraciously 
the next morning. I had a wagon loaded with the 
stuff. 

That night I had roll call. Many good men did not 
answer, and of course it made us sad. Such is war. 
One of my men, Jim Tinker, came to me and said 
his brother. Bill, vv-as missing, and that he and his 
brothers wanted to go back and take another man 
and look for him; said he saw Bill start in the 
charge. They hunted over the ground of our ad- 
"^ance, but could not find any trace of him; and 
the litter-bearers said he was not back with the 
surgeons. Finally Tinker concluded to seek in the 
swamp off of our line. He had a torch, and by its 
dim flicker saw a young man sitting on a log. His 
brother! "Why Bill, what are you doing here?" 
"Well, Jim, I was tired, and I thought I would sit 
here and rest." Jim saw a littleT)lood on his brother's 
cap and said, "Bill, let's go to the boys; they've cap- 
tured that battery." He brightened up, and asked 
"Did they?" Tender arms carried him to the sur- 
geons, and as they laid him down, he gasped once, 
and "passed over the river." 

Many such pathetic incidents came under my ob- 
servation in the battles herein described. I don't 
like to dwell on them. 

The casualties incurred in this victory were quite 
serious to Ewell's Division. Col. Seymour, of the 
6th Louisiana, commanding Taylor's Brigade, was 
killed He was born in Georgia and lived in Macon 
when I was a kid. He was a veteran of the Seminole 
and Mexican Wars, and a thorough military man. 
He moved to New Orleans, and was the editor and 
proprietor of The Picayune when he received his 

112 



ON TO RICHMOND 

appointment of Colonel-General. Taylor said of him, 
"Brave old Seymour! Georgia has been fertile of 
worthies, but has produced none more deserving 
than Col. Seymour. He was sacrificed on the altar 
of the bloodiest of all Molochs, Ignorance!" 

Lt. Col Bob Wheat was also killed. General Dick 
Tavlor, who arrived on the field just at the close 
of \he battle, in an ambulance, sick, said: "In the) 
early summer of 1846, after the victories of Palo 
Alto and Resacca de la Palma, the United States 
armv, under Genl. Zach Taylor, lay near the town 
of Matamoras. Visiting the hospital of a recently- 
joined volunteer corps from the states, I remarked 
a bright eyed youth of some nineteen years, wan 
with disease, but cheery withal. The interest he 
inspired led to his removal to army headquarters, 
where he soon recovered his health and became a 
pet. This was Bob Wheat, son of an Episcopal 
Clergyman and Professor in the University of North 
Carolina. Bob had left school and his North Caro- 
lina home, to come to the war. He next went to 
Cuba with Lopez, was wounded and captured, but 
escaped the garrote to follow Walker to Nicaragua. 
Exhausting the capacities of the South American 
patriots to "pronounce," he quilted their society in 
disgust and joined Garibaldi in Italy. Whence his 
keen scent of combat summoned him home, in con- 
venient time to receive a bullet at first Manassas." 

I cannot tell why Jackson did not turn Fitz John 
Porter's right, as he finally did, before sending us 
in to that "death trap." 

Swell's Division had never lost any ground or 
failed to accomplish what they were ordered to do, 
and more; but here we rubbed defeat mighty close. 

In 1864, when Grant attacked Lee here, the posi- 
tions were exactly reversed. Lee's men occupying 
the rifle pits from which we drove Porter's Corps. 
Grant was repulsed with great slaughter, after mak- 
ing many desperate assaults. 

113 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

It is said his officers refused to move forward in 
obedience to his command to make another assault. 

After the war, General Grant said: "ordering those 
assaults at Cold Harbor was the greatest mistake of 
my military career." We were aided by a flank 
movement of Winder's Brigade and Hood's Division, 
on our left. 

When we charged we caught Porter in the act 
of retreating and followed him so closely he could 
not save his artillery and camp equipment. 

This battle of Gold Harbor was fought June 27th, 
1862. McClellan reported Porter's Corps and Syke's 
Division of Regulars, thirty-six thousand men; re- 
inforcements during the action increased their num- 
ber to fifty thousand. Lee says he had forty thou- 
sand men on the field. That night McClellan was 
in full retreat; his campaign to take Richmond al 
failure 

The greatest generals seem to have lost their judg- 
ment at timps ; Lee at Malvern Hill, and Gettysburg. 
Stonewall Jackson at 1st Gold Harbor, 1862. Grant 
at Cold Harbor, 1864, and in the Wilderness. Sher- 
man at Kennesaw Mt. Thomas was forced by Long- 
street from Snodgrass Hill, after he had failed in 
the direct assault. By flanking around to his left, 
Longstreet found a weak place, or gap, in Thomas' 
line. It is impossible in this day of improved arms 
to drive a brave enemy from a fortified position by 
attacking in front 

Notwithstanding all these fatal object lessons, 
poor Hood comes along towards the end, and deci- 
mates the splendid army Joe Johnston turned over 
to him, by assaulting works at Peach-Tree Creek, 
Jonesboro, Franklin, Tenn. And since our Civil 
War the thick headed English generals failing to 
profit by our experience, decimated their armies in 
South Africa, assaulting the Boers in fortified posi- 
tions; until Lord Roberts took command, flanked 
their fortified positions and captured Pretoria. 

114 



XII. 

McGLELLAN'S RETREAT. 

The next morning we rejoined our brigade and 
took up the pursuit of McClellan, who was in full 
retreat, but making a gallant resistance. 

If McGruder had obeyed Lee's orders and formed 
his divisions across the road at Grape Vine and Bot- 
tom's Bridges and fortified, a large part of the Union 
army would have been captured or destroyed, for 
McGlellan's army was divided by the Ghickahominy 
River, which could not be crossed except at the 
bridges. Thus, our brilliant victory o' the day be- 
fore, would have had its legitimate conclusion. But 
Huger and Holmes' Divisions lay idle, asleep in the 
swamp, whilst Fitz John Porter's Corps passed close 
to them, in retreat. 

Huger's Division had been stationed near Nor- 
folk since April, 1861, and had not been engaged 
in battle or seen active service in the field. 

We passed them the second morning as we fol- 
lowed McClellan on the 29th of June. 

I stopped to see my brother who was a member 
of the "Floyd Rifles", 2nd Georgia Battalion. His 
com.pany was one of the crack commands sent from 
Macon. I had not seen my brother since we parted 
fifteen months before. 

I was acquainted with many men of the battalion, 
composed as it was of old historic companies from 
Macon, Columbus and Griffin. After I had chatted 
with my relatives and many other old friends, and 
was about to start to catch up with my regiment, 
I was hailed by an old friend, who stood apart, 
looking very depressed and gloomy. 

115 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Bill Tooke was a rich young slave-holder, who, 
like many others, had gone into the war under the 
idea that it would be no more than a "breakfast 
spell" to "wipe the Yanks off the face of the earth," 
and that there would be lots of fun and frolic in 
the process. Although volunteering early, he, by 
good fortune, had been spared the fatigues, dangers 
and hardships of war, so far; his company being 
stationed at Sewell's Point near Norfolk, but now 
he was brought to realize what actual warfare 
meant. 

He had a protruding underjaw, made prominent 
by his constant laugh when talking. It may be said 
that soldiers like "all Gaul" were "divided into three 
parts," (omnia Gallia tres partes desisa est)." There 
were optimists, pessimists and fatalists. 

Now the aforesaid Wm. Tooke, Esq., was ever a 
pessimist, even when enjoying the most felicitious 
of circumstances, he was prone to look on the dark 
side of things. On this particular June morning, 
and the day previous, McGlellan in protecting his 
rear had been careless about where he dropped his 
sholls, "Hello, Bill!" said I, as I shook his hand, 
"how goes it, my boy?" "Badly, Nisbet, damn bad- 
ly!" "Why the enemy's retreating and you haven't 
yet been engaged." 'No. but I tell you what's a 
jfact. the whole of McClellan's artillery have been 
shooting for two days, right at Bill Tooke." Just 
then a shell burst not far away. "See that! they 
arp ffoing to kill Bill Tooke right here in this 
Chickahominy swamp; and he's going back to 
Macon in a pine box. It's old "Bose Hill cemetery" 
for William! I tell you, Cooper Nisbet, it's just my 
luck! If there was a million men in this swamp, 
and but one mosquito, t'would light on Bill Tooke's 
nose, by G — d!" It's no use to try to comfort a 
pessimist, so I rode on, and soon caught up with 
my regiment. 

We reached Savage Station, one of McClellan's 
supply depots, (Richmond and York River Rail- 

116 



McCLELLAN'S RETREAT 

road). One of General McGruder's brigades had 
just charged the Yanks there, in their breastworks, 
and been repulsed. He had better have struck them 
with one of his divisions the night before, on the 
retreat. 

We passed on around the station, and tore up the 
railroad; thus preventing their retreat, that way, to 
the White House on the Pamunkey, which was Mc- 
Glellan's chief base of supplies. 

It was in this White House that Washington paid 
court to, and married Mrs. Martha Gustis, the owner 
of the estate, and it is thought that the residence of 
the President at Washington took it's name from the 
fact that Mrs. Washington's old home was so called. 

When the army of the Potomac occupied Arling- 
ton as a camping ground, March, 1861, General Lee's 
family moved to the "White House on the Pamun- 
key."' Pollard, in his Life of Robert E. Lee, says: 
"When McGlellan's army advanced up the Penin- 
sular and reached the "White House", Mrs. Lee had 
fled to Richmond, but left a note asking that the 
property be spared for its historical association. 
McGlellan respected the request, and protected the 
property from all ravages of his soldiery. 

McGlellan was a gentleman and opposed to all 
private spoliation. Mrs. Lee's note left on a table 
in the parlor, was as follows: "Northern soldiers 
who profess to reverence Washington, forbear to 
desecrate the home of his first married life; the 
property of his wife, now owned by her descend- 
ants." 

General McGlellan occupied a tent and forbade 
any of his soldiers to enter the premises. I mention 
the incident because it was a memorable exception 
to the usual conduct of Federal officers, and in hon- 
orable contrast to what afterwards ensued in that 
war of incendiarism, plunder, and wanton destruc- 
tion. 

In Gongress, at Washington, an attempt was 
made to condemn McGlellan for his forbearance in 

9 117 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

this instance. His loyalty was impugned by a vio- 
lent party clamoring for measures of savage re- 
venge. They would have obliterated all respect for 
the landmarks of history, in a wild scene of indis- 
criminate ruin. 

As is well known, Robert E. Lee was the son of 
Col. Henry Lee, "Light-Horse Harry", the distin- 
guished cavalry leader of the Revolution. Of him, 
General Nathaniel Green said: "He rendered more 
valuable service than any other officer in the South- 
ern Department." 

His son, Robert E. Lee, was born at "Stratford," 
Westmoreland County, Virginia, in 1806. He was 
appointed to West Point by Andrew Jackson. In 
1832 Robert E. Lee married Mary Randolph Gustis, 
daughter of Geo. Washington Parke Gustis, adopted 
son of George Washington. Mrs. Lee was the grand- 
daughter of Martha Washington, and through her, 
inherited "Arlington" and the "White House" on 
the Pamunkey River. 

Ewell's Division followed the retreating enemy 
from Savage Station and caught up with McGlel- 
lan's rear guard at "White Oak Swamp". The fol- 
lowing day we found his whole army at "Malvern 
Hill" on the James River, a position ideal for de- 
fense. The military advantages of this spot were 
recognized by La Fayette in 1791. 

The slope was gradual from all sides, McClellan's 
right and left flanks resting on the river, and his 
gunboats there, in support. 

Lee, Jackson and Longstreet, after surveying this 
position, opened a terrific artillery fire upon it, 
which was replied to with inferesf. We were in 
reserve, supporting Courtney's Virginia Battery, 
which was attached to our brigade. The 21st Geor- 
gia was lying down behind a hill. Colonel Jno. T. 
Mercer, who had been under arrest since Gold Har- 
bor, came up, and requested General Trimble to re- 
lease him from arrest and allow him. to take com- 
mand of his regiment in this fight: saying, "Gen- 

118 



McCLELLAN'S RETREAT 

eral, I want a chance to redeem my reputation." 
His request was granted and I turned the command 
of the Regiment over to him, as per order, and took 
command of my company. 

I had kept up with the Regiment with great dif- 
ficulty, as my hip was blue from the concussion 
received at Gold Harbor, so as it seemed we were to 
be stationary for a while, I lay down behind my 
company and slept for an hour or more, with shells 
bursting around, and a battery of six twelve pound 
Napoleon guns firing a few steps away. I was 
awakened by the adjutant, with orders to march. 
Soon we were following the brigade to reinforce 
some other part of the field. It was then dark, and 
as we hurried on. Col. Mercer allowed a Virginia 
brigade, that was going across our way, to cut his 
regiment off from the rest of our brigade, which 
preceeded the 21st Georgia Regiment and had gone 
on; we, therefore, had to wait until the Virginians 
passed. We then marched and counter-marched a 
long time, but could not find the rest of our .brigade 
Finally Col. Mercer halted the regiment in a ravine 
and sent for the captains to come to the front. We 
found him disroouned, lying down, his head lean- 
ing against a tree. He seemed to be suffering from 
nervous prostration. The regiment was in a depres- 
sion; batteries on each side of us playing fiercely 
over our heads, and the shells from the gunboats 
coming occasionally into our lines, and sometimes 
dropping among the Federals. Bigger than army 
wagon hubs, they tore great holes in the eartii 
when they struck. We could hear one coming 
sometime before it arrived. The boys would say, 
"Here comes another lamp-post." The firing of 
small arms was keeping up an unceasing roar. 

"Gentlemen," said the colonel, "I am too sick to 
go any further, and I wish to turn over the com- 
mand of the regiment to the senior officer present. 
Capt. Waddail, you will take command as senior 
officer." "Old Buck" said he didn't want the re- 

119 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

sponsibility, and didn't feel qualified, and said, "I 
waive my seniority again, in favor of Gapt. Nisbet." 
The colonel then said, "Well, Gapt. Nisbet, you 
take command." He didn't like me, I had preferred 
the charge against him which caused his arrest for 
getting drunk at Gold Harbor. He had evidently 
lost his bearing, but said "The Regiment is just 
where I want it, and I want you to charge that bat- 
tery on the right." 

I said, "Golonel, I will first find out, precisely, 
our location; and do what I think best." I selected 
two men, and told them to crawl up close enough 
to find out what battery it was on our right. Whilst 
they were gone we stood there in the ravine and 
witnessed one of the grandest pyrotechnic displays 
ever seen, more than two hundred cannon in action. 
The night was inky dark, and the burning fuses 
could be seen from the time the shell left the muz- 
zle of the cannon until it exploded. 

To add to the incessant din, if that were possible, 
the gunboats were in action. Their huge mortar 
shells came on slowly, with a roaring noise like that 
made by a foundry. When one was heard coming 
my men would say, "Here comes another wagon- 
hub; hug your clay-root, boys." The "hubs" seem 
to have been thrown at random, dropping into the 
Yankee lines as often as into ours, tearing great 
holes in the ground when they burst. But as hick 
would have it, none fell very near us. 

After a while my scouts returned and reported 
that the battery on our right, (which our Col. Mer- 
cer wanted us to charge,) was Confederate and sup- 
ported by infantry. Thereupon, as we were not 
out for that kind of a fight, and not being responsi- 
ble for our position, I ordered that the men lie down 
and rest, until further notice. Soon the tired fel- 
lows, heedless of "wagon-hubs and foundry noises", 
were fast asleep. 

Many officers expressed the opinion that our 
nervous colonel had hurried us through a part of 

120 



McCLELLAN'S RETREAT 

the Yankee army that night in hunting for his bri- 
gade. ^ ,, , 

The firing ceased, McGlellan was retreating to 
Harrison's Landing to get under better protection 
of the navy, leaving to General Lee the field of bat- 
tle, a very costly victory. 

General McGlellan did not realize his advantage. 
He was too timid, and should have taken the ag- 
gressive instead of relying on the navy to save him. 

General Francis Adams, a distinguished Federal 
officer, says: "We lean to ascribing to the navy 
the larger share in undermining the power of re- 
sistance on the part of the South. The gunboats 
cut the Confederacy in twain, and neutralized Texas 
and the Trans-Mississippi Department, both as to 
men and supplies. They captured Nashville and 
Memphis without a blow, and sustained the army 
of the Potomac. Without their aid Richmond would 
have never fallen. And it was the blockade rather 
than the ravages of the army that sapped the in- 
dustrial strength of the Confederacy." 

No orders reached us that night, and the men! 
slept on until morning, when we soon found our 
brigade and went into camp. That day the sur- 
geons came around on inspection, to ascertain who 
were fit for duty and who should be sent to the 
hospital. They found that I had malarial fever, 
and that my hip was in too bad a condition for me 
to march on foot or do camp duty. 

I consented to go to Richmond and was assigned 
to 2nd Georgia hospital. In going there, I had the 
ambulance to stop a while at our field hospital, 
near Cold Harbor. I found my poor wounded men 
cheerful and patient under their sufferings, and glad 
to see me. 

I told them about our movements and the battles 

since they were wounded, and promised to see to 

it, that they should be furloughed and sent home 

as soon as able to travel, and that made them happy. 

Sergeant Matt Amos came in. He had a slight 



121 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

wound in the arm, not serious enough, he said, to 
keep him from picking blackberries "to make the 
boys some pies." I cautioned him about keeping 
out of the hot sun. He contracted erysipelas and 
died. The seriously wounded all recovered. I be- 
lieve it was Henry Ward Beecher who said, "Yellow 
fever is God-Almighty's opinion of dirt;" and so 
it may have been said then of gangrene and erysipe- 
las; but now cleanliness, sterilization and antisep- 
tics have vastly ameliorated the conditions. 

At that day sterlization of hands, instruments and 
clothes was not understood. A surgeon often probed 
wounds with soiled fingers, and in many cases ren- 
dered slight wounds fatal by the introduction of 
germs. People who know of war as a thing of 
hearsay, have but a feeble conception of the horrors 
of field surgery in the '60's, especially in the crip- 
pled condition of Confederate resources. Medical 
supplies were scarce. Sanitation and the Red Gross 
were not in existence 

A terrible light is thrown on actualities, in the 
testimony of an eminent physician and surgeon. 
Dr. Jas. Robie Woods, of New York City, in his 
recent address to the survivors of the 2nd Georgia 
Battalion, Wright's Brigade. Dr. Woods is full of 
genius, and direct as a sun-ray. From this remark- 
able address, delivered at the Confederate Veterans 
Reunion, Macon, Ga., May, 9th, 1912, I quote some 
facts. 

"After the battle of the Wilderness, I remember 
— in the awful stillness of that night — the sad cry 
of the wounded begging for water. The air was so 
still that I carried an open candle in my hand as 
I went about the woods seeking for water. After 
the two armies had retired, I was left with a large 
number of dangerously wounded who, could not be 
removed; — our own men, and prisoners. So, I took 
charge of them, and tried to keep the slightly 
woniKlcd prisoners to help me care for the others. 

122 



McCLELLAN'S RETREAT 

There, I was left alone with fully twenty-five ab- 
solutely helpless wounded. I not only had to dress 
their wounds, prescribe medicine — principally mor- 
phine—but also keep them clean, and was even 
obliged to cook and serve all their food. At lasl 
Jim Price appeared; and he helped me by his work 
and cheerful company. When in despair of getting 
help, a body of North Carolina Dunkards came 
along. At first they said they were not allowed to 
take part in war, but I told them to take hold and; 
help, as the care of the wounded was mercy, not' 
war. They proved splendid help in my work, until 
all the wounded were removed, or had died. General 
Wadsworth, (Federal) died in my tents. After this 
I was transferred to the Georgia Hospital at Rich- 
mond, where I had care of all the malignant dis- 
eases in the separate tents away from the main 
huildings. Besides diptheria, typhoid fever, small- 
pox, hospital-gangrene came under my special care. 

Day and night I watched over the soldiers, usual- 
ly sleeping beside the worst cases. Sometimes I 
was called suddenly in the night, and going to one 
of the tents would find that gangrene had eaten: 
through an artery and blood was spouting to the 
top of the tent. I don't know how I controlled those 
fearful hemorrhages, but I did. 

The frightful odor of the gangrene I could not 
remove from my hands, so it was a constant dis- 
tress to me in the act of eating. 

Upon the evacuation of Richmond, General Lee 
left with me some army wagons, with orders to go 
to the medical stores and get everything I needed 
for the sick and wounded. Large quantities of 
nitrate of silver were destroyed that night while I 
was taking the needed stores. 

When the northern surgeons appeared, I turned 
over the wounded to them, but when they saw the 
cases of hospital-gangrene, they requested me to 
remain in charge — which I was glad to do, but re- 
fused the compensation offered by them. I was 

123 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

satisfied with the gratitude of the wounded, which 
I had — from many a noble fellow in the hospital. 
Soon the surgeons brought all the cases of gangrene 
from the various Richmond hospitals, and placed 
them in my tents. I would hardly dare to tell you 
how many I had charge of, but the number was 
enormous ; brought about by the half-cleaned band- 
ages, etc., to which we had to submit in those un- 
fortunate days. 

The antiseptic and stimulating power of precious 
turpentine proved of immense value in the gang- 
rene cases. I personally packed every crevasse of 
every wound with lint saturated with turpentine. 
I had the satisfaction of having results which were 
as nearly perfect as possible. Every patient recov- 
ered except one soldier, poor little Gilchrist, of 
South Carolina. In his case, the gangrenous wound 
had already eaten its way completely around from 
a wound iii his back, to and through the abdominal 
walls into the bowels. 

General Lee sent his own daughter to cheer and 
comfort the soldiers in my tents. General Ewell's 
niece, also, was in constant affendance, and the 
Ball's of Virginia, and many other Richmond ladies 
— so our soldiers were kindly cared for by them. 

Before I left, General Lee sent me four of his 
photographs, all of which he personally signed for 
me, in recognition of my poor services. Of course 
I tried to do my duty by our soldiers, especially as 
the Northern surgeons had given me full charge of 
them. 

Upon going to New York City, I slowly struggled 
into a medical practice. During the year, 1875, after 
I had been appointed as visiting physician to 
Ward's and Blackwell's Island hospitals, I began 
a series of experiments, carrying contagious dis- 
eases through the lower animals, and from them 
preparing a serum with which I inoculated patients, 
especially the cases of consumption. My work was 
looked upon as criminal, or else ridiculed in those 

124 



McCLELLAN'S RETREAT 

early days, but many years afterward, when Pas- 
teur', Koch, and others did precisely the thing that 
I had done in 1874, their work was lauded through- 
out the whole civilized world, while my work and 
name were forgotten." 

Latterly, the "Red Gross" has greatly alleviated 
the horrors of war. 

Then, each company had two men detailed as 
"litter bearers", who were excused from all com- 
pany duty and the regimental drill. Their principal 
duty was to nick up wounded men and carry them 
back to the surgeon, and to assist the surgeons after 
the battle. The captains selected the strongest and 
bravest men for this duty. Often each litter-bearer 
had o carry a man on his back or in his arms, 
which called for great strength, and to return to 
thp firing line was more trying than to stay and 
shoot. I had tw^o of the v^ry best. If any of thei 
old 21st Georgia see this, they will remember Char- 
lev Warren and Paddy Garney. 

'My route to Richmond took me from Malvern 
Hill over McClellan's line of retreat. This gave me 
the opportunity to study the campaign. I passed 
Frazier's farm, through White Oak Swamp, Sav- 
age Station, Cold Harbor, Gaines' Mills, Ellison's 
Mill and Mechanicsville. 

Gen. Lee is reported as saying, "Jackson made me 
fight the battle of Mechanicsville when there was 
no need of it, he didn't come up as he should have- 
done". U seems old Stonewall wanted his men to 
rest and pray. 

We were holding a big camp meeting at Ashland 
when promptness was imperative. You see it was 
this way, Lee had moved out, and uncovered Rich- 
mond. H was almost unprotected. Only Huger's 
and Holmes' divisions were left between McClellan 
and the city. A. P. Hill moved out, and crossed the 
Chickahominy, expecting Jackson to advance on 
the $5th of June, as promised, to turn the Federal 
right and force McCall's division to the position of 

125 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Porter at Gaines' Mill. In the meantime, Lotig- 
street and D. H. Hill had moved out of the city's 
fortifications. 

Hour after hour passed, but Jackson was absent. 
Richmond was almost denuded of defenders, with- 
out any movement to distract Federal attf>ntion 
from its weakness. Finally when we did come up 
on the 27th, at Gold Harbor, our victory over Fitz 
John Porter was complete, and McGlellan was in 
full retreat. 

Gen. Lee had ordered McGruder to keep a close 
watch on McGlellan's movements, but he did not 
discover the retreat until the morning of the 29th. 
The safe retreat of McGlellan was due to the ad- 
vantage thus gained. Our generals, (except Gen. 
Lee) had no maps of the roads, and were ignorant 
of the topography of the country in sight of their 
own capitol. Gen. Lee had no opportunity to sup- 
ply these maps, they should have been furnished 
by the topographical bureau at Richmond. There- 
fore, while Gen. Lee was conversant with the coun- 
try, his generals did not execute his orders; were 
constantly getting lost; losing time, and giving the 
Fed:Tals the opportunity of fortifying their posi- 
tions. 

McGruder finally overtook Sumner's Corps at 
three o'clock on the 29th, and found them in breast- 
works at Savage Station; and while he was attack- 
ing, we (Ewell's Division) arrived, and went around 
and tore up the York River railroad, leading to the 
"White House" On the Pamunkey. 

Gen. Sumner destroyed a vast amount of military 
stores at Savagf^ Station, and retreated — through 
White Oak swamp. 

We followed the next day. About three o'clock 
Gen, Lee, with the divisions of Longstreet and A. P. 
Hill struck the Federal column at Frazier's farm 
and gained some advantage after a fierce struggle, 
attacking breastworks, but the enemy continued 
their retreat safely. 

126 



McCLELLAN'S RETREAT 

Again, Lee expected Jackson's help, but it is said 
"Old Stonewall" was so exhausted he laid down to 
take a short nap, and his aids disliked to arouse* 
him, as ordered. 

I remember our column lying in the road near, 
White Oak swamp waiting for orders to move on. 
We could hear the guns at Frazier's farm, the fight 
was over when we reached there. 

I give the result of the Richmond Campaign in 
justification of the line officers and private sol- 
diers whose fighting would have captured McGlel- 
lan's army had they been well managed. 

If was because human endurance has its limit, 
that Jackson was overcome with sleep at that crit- 
ical hour. Had our Genius in Gray been in the 
saddle at that moment, the outcome would have been 
different. I have not words to express my admira- 
tion of this matchless infantry leader. He held the 
destinies of our troops in the hollow of his hand. 

Arrived at the 2nd Georgia Hospital, I reported 
to Dr. Jas. M. Green, surgeon in charge, who had 
been our old family physician at Macon, Ga. The 
doctor was very kind, offering me a private room, 
but I declined, preferring to stop at a hotel. He 
dressed my injured hip, and by my request, gavei 
me a permit to stop at the "Spotswood", the prin-^ 
cipal hostelry, and rendezvous of army officers. 

The physician's signature prepared me for the 
certain inspection of the provost guard who 
paraded the streets with orders to arrest all officers 
and men who could not show in writing a good 
reason for being away from their command. 

It is still a matter of pride with me that I served 
four years in the army, and was at no time an in- 
mate of a hospital. It at any time I had been severe- 
ly wounded or very sick and helpless I might have 
been taken there, but never on my own initiative. 
There were officers and men who were forever 
feigning disability, that they might avoid the march 
and the battle. 'Hospital rats", these, and objects 

127 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

of contempt. I registered at the "Spotswood", or- 
dered my new uniform brought from the tailors; 
bought some fine underclothing, shirts, etc., took a 
bath, got a shave, and then enjoyed the biggest din- 
ner I had seen in twelve months; lit a "Henry Clay" 
(smuggled through Florida, I suppose), a pure Ha- 
vana cigar, and felt better. I sauntered out on Main 
Street to idly view the passing throng, when who 
should I behold but my pessimistic friend, Bill 
Tooke, 2nd Georgia Battalion, late of the Chicka- 
hominy swamp. He wore his usual grin. Said I, 
"William, my boy, how goes it, now? Allow me to 
congratulate you on being alive, yet you seem de- 
pressed. How is the world serving you?" "Badly, 
Nisbet; damn badly; I got here yesterday, drew all 
my money, $700, out of the bank and last night 
tried my luck at Faro. I wooed the fickle goddess 
too long. I backed the queen to win, and the old 
huzzy flunked me! And here I am dead broke!" 
I agreed to stake him for a small amount, until he 
could get a remittance from home. Just then the 
bus arrived, and out stepped my father and my 
cousin, the Rev. Samuel Boykin, of Macon, Georgia. 
They had come on to see about me, and were, of 
course, much relieved to find that I was neither 
killed nor badly wounded, as had been reported. 

They stayed with me two days, and I enjoyed 
their visit very much. War is demoralizing. Rich- 
mond was sure a wide-open town. The theaters 
played "broad vaudeville," and operated a bar and 
gambling table up stairs; the demimonde mixing 
freely with the soldiers. The better class of citizens 
didn't go out to any kind of entertainment. Nearly 
every family was in mourning. As good blood as 
the world ever produced was being freely spilt, 
but never did these people desire to stop the war\ 
save with honor! The churches were kept open day 
and night for prayers. At some one church, daily, 
all would meet, praying for the success of the Con- 
federate cause; and that Richmond might be saved. 

128 



McCLELLAN'S RETREAT 

Similar meetings in behalf of the Federal cause 
were being held in the North. They must have out- 
prayer us, for they certainly didn't outfight us. 

I was rooming with an old Ante-Bellum friend. 
Captain Ben Russell, from Baker County, Georgia, 
then of the 6th Georgia Infantry (Colquitt's Bri- 
gade), who was slightly wounded. We, with other 
congenial spirits were having a delightful time, 
when we noticed in the papers that Jackson's corps 
had moved up to Gordonville. Major Gen. John 
Pope, who had succeeded McClellan, was concen- 
trating his army about Warrenton Springs with his 
advance, under Major Gen. N. P. Banks, eight miles 
north of Culpepper Courthouse. Pope's appoint- 
ment was notice that all semblance of a concil- 
liatory policy had been abandoned. His first order 
to the troops licensed them to plunder and murder, 
citizens. His grandiloquent address to the army of 
the Potomac had been published, saying: "I have 
come to you from the West, where we have always 
seen the backs of our enemies, henceforth my head- 
quarters will be found in the saddle, etc." 

The insinuations in this order gave great offense 
to the brave army of the Potomac. 

Gen. Robt. E. Lee is credited with the repartee, 
"then his headquarters will be where his hindquar- 
ters ought to be" After reading the telegram, Rus- 
sell looked up and said, "Nisbet, old Stonewall will 
have all sorts of fun out of that fool. If we don'!: 
want to miss the frolic we had better go back to 
our companies." Said I, "Ben, old boy, it seems 
"young Lochinvar has come out of the West" sure 
enough; now we will see whether "through all the 
wide border his steed is the best." "If not, "old 
Jack" will knock him out of his headquarters. So 
we will return to the army and help give him a 
jolt. I want to return via Lynchburg, and take back 
to my regiment the men that were sent to the hos- 
pital there from the Valley of Va. "We tried to get 
orders and transportation from the War Depart- 

129 



McCLELLAN'S RETREAT 

ment, via Lynchburg, but there being no railroad 
then direct, we failed. Next, we thought of going 
by the canal boat, but on every one there was a' 
guard. Russell said, "Here are two blank applica- 
tions; we will write them up "approved". I said^^ 
"That's forgery", but he insisted that "the end justi- 
fied the means," that we were returning to the army 
and were going to reinforce with at least one hun- 
dred men, and that it was a patriotic effort." So\ 
as neither one of us were mollycodles. Miss Nancys, 
or soldiers of the over-righteous sort, the papers 
were fixed up, and we went down to meet the pas- 
senger boat coming in that evening. 

When it arrived we introduced ourselves to the 
lieutenant in command of the guard. He was a 
Virginian, and, of course, a courteous gentleman. 
We invited him to dine with us at the Spotswood 
that evening, and when we ha3 him in a good 
humor over his wine and cigars, mentioned that 
we thought of going to Lynchburg in the morning 
to get some men and take them back to the army. 
He said he would be pleased to have us take his 
boat. 

The next morning we were off on the raging 
James River canal. 



130 



XIII. 

SECOND iMANASSAS CAMPAIGN. 

Capt. Russel had his violin and banjo; there 
were pretty girl passengers, and many beauties 
came down to meet the boat at Farmville and other 
stations, casting mischievious glances at the two 
young captains. A gray uniform was a passport 
to the best society in "old Virginia", so t'was easy 
for us to get acquainted. Maybe I was more sus- 
ceptible to female charms then, than now, but it 
does seem to me those Virginia lassies were the 
sweetest, fairest, plumpest, rosiest girls I have ever 
seen. 

"There is no where, a land so fair, 
As in Virginia; 

So full of song, so free of care 
As in Virginia; 

And I believe that Happy Land 

The Lord's prepared for Mortal man 

Is built exactly on the plan 
Of old Virginia. 

The days are never quite so long 

As in Virginia; 
Nor quite as filled with happy song, 

As in Virginia; 
And when my time has come to die. 
Just take me back, and let me lie 
Close where the James goes rolling by, 

Down in Virginia." 
On arriving at Lynchburg, our clever lieutenant 
introduced us to the officer commanding the 
Provost Guard, mentioning our business, so our or- 

131 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

ders were not examined critically. 

I called at the hospital and informed the surgeon 
in charge that I had orders to take every man of 
Trimble's Brigade fit for duty, back to the army. 
He had an examination, and notified those that 
must go, and gave me a list of the names, and I 
lined them up and ordered them to meet me at the 
station next morning. 

I then V7ent to the Post Quartermaster and got 
transportation. We found our regiments camped 
near Gordonsville, this was the 6th dav of August, 
1862. 

The next day we received orders to prepare 
rations for three days. August 8th our cavalry drove 
the enemy's cavalry north of the Rapidan River. 
On the 9th we struck Bank's Corps, the vanguard 
of Pope's army, at Cedar Run, eight miles northwest 
of Culpepper Courthouse. 

The "Stonewall Division" (Virginia) and Early's 
Brigade (Virginia) and Taylor's) (Louisiana) Bri- 
gade, were soon hotly engaged. 

Trimble was ordered to occupy Slaughter Moun- 
tain, an eminence lying in the valley about the 
height and size of "Cameron Hill," Chattanooga, 
and named for the owner, who was the rector of 
the Episcopal Church at Culpepper Courthouse. 

The eastern side of the hill was a gradual slope, 
the opposite side precipitous and rocky. The enemy 
held the sloping side. 

In getting our battery up the steep side it was 
necessary to pull up the guns and caissons by hand, 
using ropes. In the meantime our skirmishers drove 
the enemy from the crest. H was a very hot day 
(August 9th), the soldiers over-exerted themselves 
from that and the excitement of the battle, several 
suffered sun-stroke, and several were wounded by 
shells that the enemy were throwing there, trying 
to keep us from getting that position. 

Lt. Will Wright of Captain Henry Battle's Com- 
pany (Polk Co.) received a wound in the groin 

132 



SECOND MANASSAS CAMPAIGN 

from a fragment of shell. He was apparently dead 
when placexl on a litter and sent to the rear. 

Captain Latimer and his gunners had gone ahead 
and located the situation of the two batteries he 
had to fight, and calculated the distance so as to 
know how long to cut the fuse. We got the guns 
up, already shotted, and ran them out from the rear 
of the residence into the lawn of Rev. Slaughter, 
the guns passing over at least a thousand books. 

I noticed some in the original Latin, Greek and 
French, and there were the New Englander's fa- 
vorite authors, Emmerson, Longfellow, Whittier and 
Holmes. Old Plato said long ago : "The house that 
has a library has a soul". The Yankees were de- 
termined that nothing of that nature should be left 
in old Virginia; they trampled and destroyed the 
library, when a house that had one, fell into their, 
lines. '^ They seemed to have a spite against culture 
and refinement "down South." 

Now this poor non-combatant preacher, what had 
he done, save good works? Spending his life try- 
ing to save souls ; and now at last to have his library, 
the very soul of his own house (according to Plato) 
ruthlessly scattered and destroyed by those barbar- 
ous iconoclasts. 

As we advanced, I fain would have picked up a 
copy of the Hiad to refresh my memory about the 
"direful wrath of Achilles", but the direful wrath 
of Pope was enough for me, just then. 

When Rosencrans advanced against Chattanooga 
his troops burnt a storehouse at Trenton, Georgia, 
simply, as they said, to destroy a library that my 
father had deposited there awaiting shipment to 
Cloverdale farm. 

The enemy opened upon us with twelve pieces, 
Latimer replying with six twelve-lb. Napoleon's. 
Here our infantry support in the rear, from behind 
protections, saw the prettiest artillery duel ever wit- 
nessed during the war. This Virginia battery of 
our brigade were Jackson's pets, every man a crack 

10 133 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

shot, and picked for efficiency, so ere long the ene- 
mies caissons commenced to blow up and several 
guns were put out of commission. Our battery had 
the advantage of position. The shells used were* 
some furnished Jackson by Banks in the Valley, and 
they, like his commissary and quartermaster sup- 
plies, were good. In fact. Banks was a "good pro- 
vider." 

About the time the explosions were going on be- 
low. Old Stonewall rode up to view the situaftion, 
and ordered an advance down the mountain. 
"I see him now, the old slouch hat 

Set o'er his eye askew; 
His speech? so dry, so shrewd, so pat, 

So kind, so brave, so true! 
The blue-light Elder knows 'em well; 

He says, "That's Banks. He's fond of shell. 
Lord save his soul! We'll give him — well! 
That's Stonewall Jackson's way!" 

From the crest of Slaughter's Mountain the whole; 
scene of the battle was before us — a grand, moving 
diorama. The firing was at its height. The roar 
of artillery stunned our ears like protracted thunder. 
The whole valley was a boiling crater of dust and 
smoke. We advanced and captured one or two 
guns which had been disabled, and caissons and 
limbers left behind in the enemy's retreat. 

Banks was falling back on Culpepper Courthouse. 
We followed him only a short distance, as Jackson 
had "other fish to fry." In the battle of Slaughter 
Mountain we lost an officer of pre-eminent worth, 
Brig. Gen. Chas. Winder. He was a Marylander, 
graduate of West Point (1850) and was regarded as 
one of the very best officers in Jackson's Corps. 

The following day we were busy burying the 
dead, and sending captured property to the rear. 
The succeeding day we marched back to Liberty 
Mills. The Northern papers received soon after con- 
tained Pope's report of the battle, claiming that he 
had met Jackson and defeated him! 

134 



SECOND MANASSAS CAMPAIGN 

This was the impression Jackson wanted to make 
on Pope. 

On the 16th of August, Ewell's Division moved 
from Liberty Mills to Mountain Run. On the 20th 
we crossed the Rapidan River at Cunningham's 
Ford. On the 21st passed Brandy Station on the 
Orange and Alexandria's Road. On the 22nd, we 
crossed Hazel River — Stewart's Cavalry being be- 
tween the enemy at Warrenton Springs, and our 
infantry to conceal movement. On the 25th of 
August the Rapahannock was crossed; we passed 
Salem and went on through Thoroughfare Gap 
on the 26th and moved to the right — capturing 
Bristow Station. We now had Pope cut off from 
his base of supplies at Manassas Junction. 

The men had just loosened a rail when a freight 
train hove in sight. Suspecting that there was some- 
thing wrong, the engineer put on a full head of 
steam and ran through at full tilt, escaping many 
bullets, sent after him. By the time a second train 
came, the track was torn up, and there was a wreck. 
The engine turned over on her side, but was not 
much injured. Her engineer said there was a third 
train following, and under compulsion, gave the 
signal for it to "come on". The train came in sight. 
One of our men, an engineer, blew the signal to 
"come on". She ran into the wrecked train, and the 
two were piled up together. It was then about eight 
o'clock p. m. Ewell's Division had marched forty 
miles that day, and had covered one hundred miles 
in three days, living on roasting-ears and fat bacon. 
Said to be the greatest number of miles marched by 
any infantry division in that length of Jime. Gen. 
Trimble requested that he "be permitted to capture 
Manassas Junction at once, as it was only seven 
miles away, and that post might be reinforced from 
Alexandria before morning." "Old Jack" said, 
"That's what I want to do, but I fear our men are' 
too exhausted to go further tonight." But, said he, 
"General Trimble, if you think your men can stand 

135 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

any more, take your brigade and go ahead." Old 
Trimble answered, "I don't need all my brigade, 
just give me my two-twenty-ones, and I can storm 
and capture h — 11, 'tself !" — the 21st Georgia and the 
21st North Carolina. 

Dick Taylor relates that in the charge at Win- 
chester, he was using some words not down in the 
catechism and that Jackson came up behind him. 
The elder laid his hand on his shoulder and said, 
"Taylor, I am afraid you are a bad fellow." 

"Where Jackson was, there Trimble was. also." 
And where Trimble was, there were his "Two 
Twenty-firsts." 

The 21st Georgia at that time was commanded by 
Major Thomas J. Glover (afterwards Lieutenant- 
Colonel) who was the most daring, desperate fighter 
I saw during the war. 

After being severely wounded in several engage- 
ments, he was killed in the second Winchester bat- 
tle in 1864, two years after, in what is said to have 
been his one hundred and seventh time under fire. 
He always went out with the skirmish line 

The 21st Georgia was in more fights than any 
other regiment, (I make this statement advisedly) 
and Col. Glover was in more than any other man 
in that regiment. 

He was an enthusiast in the Confederate cause, 
and was never so happy as when in a scrap with 
the enemy. 

There was no better company than his ("A,") 
composed of well-to-do farmer boys, thoroughly 
drilled and disciplined. Georgia's superb yeomanry. 

After the war in 1867, Col. Glover's widow, Mrs, 
Lizzie Glover, called together the survivors of her 
husband's old company, and all ex-Confederates of 
Campbell Co., Georgia, to meet in reunion at Camp- 
bellton. 

It was the first conception of the great Confed- 
erate reunions at which the Confederate Veterans 
are now entertained each year by some Southern 

136 



SECOND MANASSAS CAMPAIGN 

city; each trying to excel in doing honor to the "Old 
Guard" they love so well. 

But to return to the second Manassas Campaign. 
After supper our old general started with his two 
2rs. The 21st North Carolina was commanded by 
Lt. Col. Fulton, a most excellent officer, who was 
killed a few days afterwards at "Ghantilly", (Ox 
Hill.) 

On approaching the junction, the 21st Georgia 
was formed on the left, and the 21st North CaroUna 
on the right of the railroad. 

The enemies' pickets had been driven in, and their 
guards around the immense commissary and quar- 
ter-master buildings fired, and ran. 

The night was very dark, and it was impossible 
to locate the enemies' batteries or works; but as we 
got well up in the town, they opened upon us, with 
a battery on each side of the railroad, close range, 
with canister. This revealed their position, and the 
order was "Charge!" "Each regiment captured a 
battery of four field pieces, eight pieces in all, be- 
fore they could reload. There were no casualties 
except in my Company ("H,") which was advanc- 
ing formed across the public road. Lt. Isaac Hicks 
and Private Gillam Oyler were killed, and Privates 
Stephen Blevins and Cheeks Jones each lost a leg. 

The garrison, including the Colonel commanding, 
was captured, and also millions of supplies. Our 
hungry men feasted on luxuries. 

i\fter the first fire the Colonel commanding ran 
up to his battery, as we got there, and said, "Give 
'em another round, boys, it's only some of Mosby's 
d — m guerillas." Then Lt. Washington Boulding 
of my company tapped him on the shoulder and 
said, "I reckon, Colonel, you have got in the wrong 
crowd." Just then a light was obtained, and the 
Colonel said. "I believe the Rebs have got me," and 
surrendered his fine sword and pistol to Lt. Bould- 
ing. 

137 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

The next morning Pope sent a brigade of cavalry 
to disperse Mosby, and to recapture the junction, 
evidently still thinking that it was only cavalry in 
his rear, but he soon found that it was Jackson's 
Corps. This cavalry brigade was composed of raw 
recruits, Pennsylvania Dutch, mounted on Gonnes- 
toga horses. Our commanding cavalry general, 
Jeb Stewart, drew up one of his brigades, and 
charged into their flank as they galloped by. 

The 21st were in the breast works, as they came 
through, all mixed up. The Yankee brigade, hav- 
ing never been under fire before, and unused to 
riding, could not control their big horses. It was 
a stampede as they passed us, we could not shoot; 
a good many were unhorsed by the Virginia cavalry- 
men's sabers and some captured who could stop 
to surrender. The scene was very amusing to us. 
I had heard that a Pennsylvania draft horse weigh- 
ing two thousand pounds couldn't run, but rabbits 
had to get out of their way that day, and as for 
ivind! I after wards learned that some of them 
passed through Genterville and Fairfax Courthouse 
twenty miles off at full speed, and some never took 
up until they went over the long bridge at Wash- 
ington. I admire a good cavalryman, but oh you 
Pennsylvania Dutchman! 

The Pennsylvania Infantry, especially the "Buck- 
Tails" were considered the best in the Army of the 
Potomac. The next morning, seven a. m., a New 
Jersey Brigade, commanded by Colonel Taylor, 
came out from Alexandria on the cars, debouched 
near Blackburn's Ford, drove in our pickets, ad- 
vanced across Bull Run Creek and attacked us gal- 
lantly and vigorously. They would reform after 
each repulse and come again, in true American 
style. Their Commander and his son who was on 
his staff, were killed. One half of Col. Taylor's of- 
ficers, including his nephew, were killed or wound- 
^•d. Thpy fell back in retreat. I suppose they re- 

138 



SECOND MANASSAS CAMPAIGN 

turned to Alexandria. I did not see or hear of them 
any more. 

That day Jackson (whose whole corps was then 
up) after loading the captured teams and many of 
our own, with commissary and medical supplies, 
destroyed the rest, and crossed Bull Run at the 
Blackburn Ford, marching up that stream to the 
Stouo Bridge on the plains of Manassas. 

The arniy supplies we captured at Manassas 
Junction, exceeded in amount those we captured 
from Gen'l. Banks at Winchester, but our means of 
transportation were not so good. It nearly broke 
our hearts to destroy any of the needful food and 
clothing. But a Regiment of infantry and their 
equipment, two batteries and their equipments, four 
hundred extra horses, two hundred negroes, ten 
locom.otives, two long freight trains loaded wi!h 
stores and many large warehouses full of army sup- 
plies of all kinds and sutler shops galore were a 
part of the spoils. This was the greatest amount 
captured by two Regiments only during the Civil 
War; unless it was when these same two Regiments 
captured Plymouth, N. C, and ran up the total by 
including several gunboats. Old Trimble knew 
whereof he spoke when he told Gen'l. Jackson what 
his "Two Twenty-ones" could do. To see our half- 
starved men, tattered and barefooted, filling up on 
canned goods and other dainties, and washing 
them down with fine old wines, as they strutted 
around in new shoes and "store-clothes", was a very 
amusing and satisfying sight. After this feast the 
balance of our Brigade (16th Miss., and 15th Ala. 
Regiments and Latimer's Battery) came up, they 
and the rest of Jackson's Corps which was arriving, 
were amply supplied with all they wanted. Pope's 
plan now, was to crush Jackson's twenty thousand 
with his 100,000 army, before Longstreet could 
come to our relief. So he put his corps in motion. 
On the 28th of August we struck King's Division 
of McDowell's Corps, on the march to Centerville, 

139 



FOUR YEARS ON. THE FIRING LINE 

where Pope thought he would find Jaclvson. The 
Federals occupied a line of new railroad. It was 
necessary that we capture their position. Ewell's 
Division had a desperate fight with them, driving 
the Federals back, and occupying the line, enabling 
us to hold out against Pope's whole army; which 
was pouring down upon us. Lt. Boulding and his 
brother and a good many others of my company 
were killed and wounded. The Bouldings died from 
their wounds at Dudley Church hospital, near where 
they fell. Gapl. Joseph F. (Buck) Waddail, Go. "G", 
from Atlanta, and Lt. Tom Attaway, Go "B", from 
Rome, were killed that evening. Many others of 
the Regiment went down that 28th of August, 1862. 
Braver men never went into battle. 

Late in the afternoon Major Gen'l. Ewell received 
a severe wound in the knee. His leg had to be 
amputated. This was near Groveton, and we were 
not far from the Warrenton Pike. 

Next day, (the 29th) Hooker's, Kearney's, and 
Reno's Divisions assaulted our lines, and were re- 
pulsed; our Brigadier General, Trimble, was wound- 
ed. Grover's Brigade, of Hooker's Division made 
the most gallant charge. General Glover reports 
that, "bayonet wounds were given and received, one 
Confederate Colonel was struck in the head with a 
musket." Trimble's Brigade occupied the cut. Gen- 
eral Bradley Johnson's 1st Maryland Regiment 
(Stewart's Brigade) in his report of the battle, says: 
"I saw men standing in line, in front of the deep 
cut, fighting iinth stones." He also reports, that 
"I noticed a Federal flag hold its position, for half 
an hour, in ten yards of one of the Regiments i-n 
the cut (21st Georgia) and go down six or eight 
times, and after the battle, one hundred dead men 
were lying in twenty yards of the cut, and some in 
two feet of it." 

During these assaults on our lines, the most reck- 
less daring was shown on each side. Every man 
was doing his duty, credit should go with the per- 

140 



SECOND MANASSAS CAMPAIGN 

formance of duty, and not with what is very often 
"the accidents of glory." 

Private Latham of Company "G" from Atlanta 
(21st Georgia Regiment climbed up on the "cut" 
and put up our flag that had been pulled or shot 
down, and the Federal flag planted there. He stood 
on top of the cut in full view of the assauftmg 
column and fired gun after gun into them, until 
he was shot through by a Federal soldier whose 
gun was not more than two feet from his breast; 
he rolled back to the bottom of the cut, imploring 
his comrades never to give up their Une. Latham 
recovered and did much more valiant service for 
the Confederacy. 

In the life of Jackson, John Esten Cooke says: 
"All day long they threw their masses upon us, only 
to fall back shattered and shrieking. When the sun 
went down their dead lay heaped in front of that 
incomplete railway. Without ammunition, the piles 
of stones were used." 

These individual acts of gallantry ought to have 
been suitably recognized, but there were no medals 
to bestow; no "Victoria Grosses" with which to 
honor our brave men. 

November 22nd, 1862, an act (No. 27) was passed 
by the Confederate Congress authorizing the grant- 
ing of medals and badges of distinction as a reward 
for courage and good conduct on the field of battlf^. 
This act authorized the President to bestow medals 
with proper devices, upon officers who had bf^en 
conspicuous for courage, and to one soldier of each 
company "who shall be named by the men of his 
company." Nothing was done to carry out this 
laudable act. I suppose Mr. Davis was too busv 
mapping out campaigns for his Generals, to attend 
to «i7ch small matters. 

Evidf^ntly our r^nncTess felt mean that this plnin 
duty had bp>n nps-lected. Accordingly on October 3d, 
1863. an ordor was issued stating that th^ m^^dals 
could nr^t be obtoinod, and providing that the namps 



141 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

of those worthy of such honors be reported to 
Adjt. GeneraPs office and the Roll of Honor be read 
at the head of each Regiment, at dress parade. 

Knowing that the medals could have been bought 
with cotton in Liverpool, and brought in on a 
"Blockade Runner" in a few weeks, only a few 
Regiments took any notice of the order; preferring 
to fight on in the consciousness of duty well done. 
And now, after all, the Confederate soldier is 
treated as a Pauper by the Pension Acts of the 
Southern States, which is a crying shame! These 
disgraceful Pension Acts should be wiped off the 
Statute-books. Ry simply passing a Service Act, 
as the Federal Government has done for its veterans. 
Of course there w^ould have to be a property quali- 
fication, the financial condition of the States re- 
quiring this. But the States can now afford to be 
more liberal in that matter, and also as to making 
proofs, as miany veterans have passed away. For 
instance, a veteran may own a house and small farm 
and some stock, and yet be unable to work, and pro- 
duce anything for his support. This thing can be 
fixed up right, if law-makers loill do it! I wouldn't 
vote for a man to go to the Legislature who did not 
pledge him.self to do all he could to this end. The 
State of Kentucky has recently passed an Act giving 
every Confederate soldier ten ($10) dollars per 
month pension, without any restriction. 

But to my narrative. The evident intention of 
Pope was to turn Jackson's flank and overwhelm 
him before Longstreet was in position to strike. On 
the next day (the 30th of August) Gen'l. Pope 
massed King's Rickett's, Reynold's and a part of 
Siegln's Divisions, in a final effort to crush Jackson, 
who had only three depleted Divisions. Pope was 
notified by Fitz-John Porter that Longstreet had ar- 
rived, but he did not believe it, and ordered Porter 
^n assist in the assault. Porter refused, and held 
the Henry House hill and the road, open for Pope's 
retreat to Centerville. 

142 



SECOND MANASSAS CAMPAIGN 

McDowell sent Syke's Regulars to the Henry 
House against Longstreet, instead of sending them 
to assist in the assault on Jackson, as Pope had 
ordered. 

Fitz-John Porter was put under arrest, after- 
wards, by General Pope. After many years. Porter 
was exonerated by a Court of Inquiry and restored 
to his rank in the army by act of Congress. 

x\s to Pope's retreat from the battle field, Gapt. 
Wm. H. Powell of the 4th United States Regulars, 
says : "That night as we withdrew from the battle- 
field and filed into the turnpike, we came upon 
a group of officers. One of them said : "What troops 
are these?" "The Regulars, 2nd Division, 5th Corps." 
This officer said, "God bless them, they saved the 
army." It was General McDowell. Says Gapt. 
Powell. "As we reached the "Stone bridge", every- 
thing was in confusion, the defeat of the army was 
complete, until we reached our fortifications at 
Centerville, where we found the 2nd and 6th Corps 
had arrived from Alexandria." 

Longstreet says: "On the 29th Pope was away 
from the active part of his field, and in consequence 
failed to have correct advice of my arrival. On the 
30th he was quite misled by reports of his officers 
and others to believe the Confederates were in re- 
treat, and planned his movements upon false 
premises." 

The results of the second battle of Manassas were 
nine thousand Federal prisoners, thirty pieces Ar- 
tillery, and thousands of small arms. Federal losses 
between Rappahannock river and Washington were 
fifteen thousand; Confederate loss, eight thousand. 

This last charge of these divisions massed against 
Ewell's Division, as described,was also repulsed, and 
Longstreet seeing their attack fairly broken, ordered 
his troops to advance on the right; this movement 
in such force, was not expected by Pope, and Mc- 
Dowell was pushed back, and Pope's road of retreat 
to Centerville would have been lost, if McDowell 

143 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

had not thrown a Brigade of Regulars across the 
Henry House hill, which checked Longstreet's vic- 
torious onslaught. 

Pope's great mistake was in ordering McDowell 
to fall back from Thoroughfare Gap; thus letting 
Longstreet through. 

We were fighting fiercely in the Railroad cut as 
General ("Tige") Anderson's Georgia Brigade rush- 
ed by, and became engaged. Gapt. Tomlinson Fort, 
commanding a Company in the 1st Georgia Regu- 
lars, of that Brigade w^ent down; severely wounded 
in the leg. He recovered, and served until the end. 
A brave, efficient officer! He was born and reared 
in Milledgeville, Georgia; and enlisted from there; 
After the war he practised law in Chattanooga 
successfully, until his death, which occurred re- 
cently. He w^as a public spirited citizen and did 
much for the up-building and philanthropies of 
his city. 

Benning's Georgia Regiment (17th) followed 
Anderson's Brigade in the charge. Benning's men 
called him "Old Rock". Some of our boys shouted 
to him as they hurried by: "Go it Rock, old Tige 
has treed!" 

The Federals contended fiercely for possession of 
the "Henry House Hill" but Longstreet's whole line 
advanced. Jackson's Corps joined in the forward 
m.ovement; the Yanks retreating pell-mell towards 
Centerville, on the pike the Regulars had held open 
for them. 

During the battle the opposing lines were so near 
each other they became intermingled. Both armies 
used "Sudley Church" for a hospital. Federal and 
Confpderate surgeons operated there together, dur- 
ing the battle. Ambulances from each army came 
and went, delivering their wounded. 

Before following up Pope's retreat, I will men- 
tion some other things about the second battle of 
Manassas. There was no man more conspicuous 
in this war than General Robert Toombs of Georgia. 

144 



SECOND MANASSAS CAMPAIGN 

Always on the field, yet through his impetuousness, 
he would often put his Brigade into the fight with- 
out orders. In this instance his Division Com- 
mander, Major General D. R. Jones, (a very slow, 
methodical West Pointer) caught up with Toombs, 
as his Brigade was pushing forward, following up 
their success, and reprimanded him for advancing 
without orders. Toombs replied hotly, saying 
among other things, "The fact is, Sir, "I refuse to 
be tied to a Corpse!" After the battle Jones pre- 
ferred charges against Toombs, which eventuated 
in his retiring from the army, and antagonizing 
President Davis' policies for the rest of the war. 

On the 28th, General Dick Ewell lost his leg. We 
regretted losing our able Division commander. 
When he recovered, he was promoted Lt. General. 
Born in Virginia, he was educated at West Point, 
and served in Mexico with much distinction as an 
officer of the 1st Dragoons. He was a queer man 
Often went in with the skirmish line. Always spoke 
of Jackson, as "Old Jack", the latter was several 
years his junior. 

He said he admired Jackson's genius, but was 
certain of his lunacy. He had heard Jackson se- 
riously declare he never ate pepper, because it pro- 
duced a weakness in his left leg. W^hich con- 
firmed Ewell in this opinion. Ewell was dyspeptic 
and nervous, which prevented him from taking 
regular sleep. So he often passed the night curled 
around a camp stool. It was enough to dislocate 
an ordinary person's joints. But he was a bold 
horseman, and with all his oddities was popular 
with officers and men. 

In the fight at Groveton, we were deprived of 
both our able Brigade and Division commanders, 
by wounds. Trimble afterwards was promoted 
Major-General. After it was known that General 
Ewell was severely wounded, Mrs. Campbell Brown, 
a widow and owner of the "Spring Hill" Stock 
farm, Maury County, Tennessee; came on to nurse. 

145 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

him. It was said they had been old Ante-Bellum: 
sweethearts, and were distantly related. Ewell had 
remained single. The old flame revived and they 
were married. Mrs. Brown was the daughter of 
the Hon. Geo. W. Campbell of Nashville, who was 
a member of Monroe's cabinet, and prominent in 
many ways. His home was on the hill where the 
State House now stands. 

After the war General Ewell lived many years, 
and conducted that celebrated home of the "Hal" 
stock of Pacers and could often be seen driving a 
team into Nashville. 

Our Brigadier, Isaac R. Trimble, was a Mary- 
lander; he was also a West Pointer, and saw service 
in the United States Army. He had resigned and 
at the outbreak of the War, was superintendant 
of the B. & 0. R. R. Too severely wounded to b^ 
moved from the field hospital, he fell into the 
hands of the enemy after we moved into Maryland. 
He was promoted Major General after Second 
Manassas. 

Jackson, as usual, was ordered in pursuit. We 
followed the retreating foe close to Washington. 
When we reached "Ghantilly" Jackson, learning 
that the enemy was advancing on him from Genter- 
ville, threw his corps into line across "Ox Hill". 
Hill's Division on the right, Ewell's Division in the 
center, and the Stonewall Division on the left. 

The Federals came upon us and attacked fiercely. 
Kearny's and Stevens' Divisions (Fed'l.) contested 
the ground until Major General Phil Kearney and 
Major General Stevens were killed, when their Di- 
visions retired from the field. 

We lost our Brigade Commander, Capt. Wm. F. 
Brown, of the 12th Georgia Regiment, a very ca- 
pable, gallant soldier. He had been recommended 
for promotion by General Jubal Early, who said 
in his report after the battle of Cedar Run. "Capt. 
Wm. F. Brown, commanding that gallant fighting 
Rpeirnpii^ the 12th Georgia, who is over sixty years 

146 



SECOND MANASSAS CAMPAIGN 

of age, displayed great courage and energy. He is 
eminently deserving the command of a Regiment 
and I recommend him for promotion." 

There was no more distinguished soldier in the 
Federal Army than Maj-Gen Phil Kearney. His 
death was a great loss to the Federal Army, and so 
was that of Maj.-Gen. Stevens, who also stood very 
high as an efficient Division commander. 

The Federal Army had made a splendid fight — 
though losing the battle of 2nd Manassas. The 
stand of Ox Hill ^Chantilly) was severe, so that our 
army of North A^ir.crinia should have held in pro- 
found resD'^ct its formidable adversary, "seasoned 
bv p^anv bkodv fiplds". 



XIV. 

GHANTILLY. 

But enough of battles for the present, let us di- 
gress. This historic place, "Chantilly" was the 
estate and home of Richard Henry Lee, who played 
such a prominent part in the American Revolution 
as a parliamentarian. Born at "vStratford", the old 
Lee estate nearby, Jan. 20th, 1732, died at Chantilly 
June 19th, 1794. He was educated in England. In 
his 23rd year, when Braddock came to Virginia, 
Lee raised a company of volunteers in Westmore- 
land Co. for his expedition against Fort Duquesne. 
Gen'l. Braddock had a contempt for Colonial Militia 
and declined their services. So Lee had to march 
his men back home, and disband. As it turned out 
Braddock would better have kept them. 

Lee was sent to the House of Burgessess, where 
he made a speech strongly opposing the importation 
of slaves. He wanted to place a tax upon them large 
enough to stop the trade. He originated the plan of 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

a general Congress of the Colonies, which was adop- 
ted; and he was a delegate to the first Colonial Con- 
gress that met in Philadelphia in 1774. He also repre- 
sented Virginia in the 2nd. Congress which met at 
Philadelphia in 1775. He was chairman of com- 
mittee appointed to draw up commission and in- 
structions of Gen'l. Washington, who had just been 
appointed commander-in-chief. Armies of America. 

in May, 1776, Lee moved "that these united Col- 
onies are, and of right ought to be free and inde- 
pendent States; that they are absolved from all al- 
legiance to the Crown, and that all political con- 
nection between them and the State of Great Britain 
is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." 

The resolution was strongly seconded by John 
Adams, and Lee made a great speech in advocating 
it ; but the matter was postponed until the first Mon- 
day in July. 

In the meantime a committee was appointed to 
draft a Declaration of Independence. Lee would 
have been Chairman of this committee, but recei'st- 
ing intelligence of the illness of his wife, he had 
to return to Virginia. 

Next day the committee met, and appointed Thos. 
Jefferson Chairman. Through this trivial incident 
the glory of the Authorship of the Declaration of 
Independence was transferred from Richard Henry 
Lee, to Thomas Jefferson. Lee signed the Declara- 
tion and was returned to the Congresses of 1779- 
80-84, when he was elected President of that body. 

He was also elected to the Congress of 1786, and 
when the constitution was adopted was one of the 
first two Senators from Virginia. 

The British, knowing the agency which Mr. Lee 
had in the Declaration of his Country's independ- 
ence, made several special efforts to secure his per- 
son. On two occasions he but barely escaped his 
enemies. 

His brother, Francis Lightfoot Lee, also served 
in Congress from Virginia and signed the Declara- 

148 



CHANTILLY 

Hon of Independence. He was a second cousin of 
Harry Lee, the cavalry leader known as "Light- 
horse Harry"! 

After the Revolution, the Marquis La Payette, re- 
visiting the thirteen States of the Union, was enter- 
tained from Boston to Savannah. Congress shower- 
ed honors, pensions, and lands upon him. At this 
time he was entertained in the most sumptuous 
manner at "Chantilly" by Richard Henry Lee. 

And so it seemed, that in The Old Dominion, we 
could never even get into a skirmish without setting 
foot on "History's enchanted ground!" 



XV. 

THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN. 

On the 5th and 6th of September, as our columns 
approached Leesburg, "Maryland, My Maryland" 
was in the air. It was said that the defeat of Pope's 
Army, and our proximity to Washington, gave "Old 
Abe'' such a scare that he sent his household goods 
aboard a transport, which was kept steamed up 
ready for departure at a moment's notice. 

After resting a few days, we took up the march, 
and on the 5th of September crossed the Potoma(il 
at "White's Ford" into Maryland. On the 6th we 
reached the B. & 0. bridge over the Monoccasy. Here, 
Col. Jas. A Walker of the Stonewall Brigade, was 
placed in command of Trimble's Brigade He was 
a good soldier. Served gallantly until the war end- 
ed. He died recently at his home, Wytheville, Vir- 
ginia, greatly honored and loved, by all. 

On the 10th of September, we moved up to Fred- 
erick City. This was the home of Francis Scott 
Key, the author of the "Star-Spangled Banner". 
There he was buried. It was also there that Admiral 
Schley "the hero of Santiago", was born and reared. 

11 149 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Schley says: "I Imew Barbara Fritchie. She was 
a kind hearted old lady who made famous ginger- 
cakes and gave them liberally to the children. She 
was strongly Union in sentiment, but the incident 
mentioned by Whittier was a poetic fancy." As we 
m.arched, the bands played "Maryland, My Mary- 
land". Some Confederate flags were flying in the 
town, but many more Union flags, expressive of 
the prevailing sentiment of that part of Maryland! 

The children waved "Old Glory" but we paid no 
attention to such demonstrations. Jackson had big- 
ger game in view, than to fuss with old women. 
The story of Barbara Fritchie, as related by Whit- 
tier in his poem of that name, is a myth. No such 
incident occurred as Whittier described. 

She lived, I am told, on a side street. We marched 
on the main street leading to Hagerstown. Jackson 
rode at the head of our column. 

If anything had occurred to stop him, I would 
have noticed it. I never heard of Barbara until I 
read the poem. It's a pity to spoil a pretty fable, 
and poetic tale, but let us have the truth. "Fiat- 
justitia, ruat coelum." 

Maryland furnished the Confederacy many splen- 
did soldiers. They were the flower of her chivalry. 
But the State did not ardently declare itself for 
either the Confederate or the Federal Government. 
She contributed troops to each army. Randall's 
splendid appeal shook our hearts like a trumpet ! — 

"She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb!" * * *' 
But Marvland remained a "mute, inglorious" Mary- 
land! The State was sandwitched between the up- 
per and the lower mill-stone! The Eastern Shore 
— or old Cavalier, stock — were Southern sympathiz- 
ers. Western Maryland was for the Union. 

We moved towards Hagerstown, but turned to the 
left, and crossed the Potomac at Williamsport, 
camped at the North Mountain Depot, and tore up 
the track of the B. & 0. Railroad, heating and twist- 
ing the bars. Passed through Martinsburg next day, 

150 



THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN 

driving the garrison to Harper's Ferry, which lies 
at the confluence of the Shenandoah river with the 
Potomac. 

On the 14th of September, we advanced against 
Harper's Ferry in three Columns, Ewell's Division 
occupying School House Hill. The next morning, 
we moved up, and opened fire with artillery. Our 
Gen'l. McLaws was firing from Maryland Heights, 
(Elk Ridge,) and the Stonewall Division from Bo- 
livar Heights, a foot-hill of the Blue Ridge, where 
it comes down to the Potomac. We could see that 
this enfilading fire was distressing the Federals, but 
they made no signs of surrender. 

Jackson could not wait, for McGlellan was push- 
ing Longstreet at Sharpsburg. Ewell's Division was 
ordered to charge the works, and were in motion 
when we saw the white flag go up. Our artillery 
on the Virginia side stopped firing, but General Mc- 
Laws could not see the signal for the smoke, and 
kept firing. A piece of one of these shells struck 
the Federal Commander, General Miles, causing him 
to lose his leg. 

Leavinsr A. P. Hill's Division to receive the sur- 
render of sixteen thousand men, and many muni- 
tions of war, Ewell's Division, commanded by Bri- 
gadier General Lawton, marched to Boteller's Ford 
that night. 

Early next morning, while it was yet dark, the 
Division crossed the Potomac and marched towards 
Sharpsburg; but before entering the town, we turn- 
pd to the left and were halted in a grove at the 
"Dunkard Church". I asked, "Who are the Dunk- 
ards?" A citizen informed me, "They are German 
Baptists." he said; "This is a German settlement." 
This church proved to be the storm center of the 
battle. The battle of Antietam, as it is called by 
the Northern States, or Sharpsburg as General L^e 
called it in his report, after the town of that name. 
The Northern Generals were wont to name battles 
after somp natural object. We, for some town or 

151 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

church. We say, "the battle of Murfreesboro," they 
term it "Stone River". We say, "Shiloh", they call- 
it "Pittsburg Landing" and so on. 

We went into line of battle. Lawton's Georgia 
Brigade on our left and Ripley's Brigade of D. H. 
Hill's Division, on our right. A part of the "Sunken 
Road" was, I think, the right of Hill's line. 

At daylight, the 17th, our skirmishers became en- 
gaged. Lt" Colonel Glover discovered a fence in 
front of the 21st Georgia with a rock underpinning, 
and obtained permission to advance his Regiment 
there, which was in rifle range of the woods in 
front. Just at daylight the enemy advanced in 
heavy force, drove in our skirmishers, and their 
line of battle advanced to the edge of the woods. 
We opened fire on them. In the course of two or 
three hours, the enemy twice, brought up fresh 
troops against us, but they melted away. 

Whilst lying behind this low, loose-rock founda- 
tion, I was near a red-headed, white eyed fellow 
of my company, He would say, each time he turned 
over 'from his back to shoot, "I got another of the 
"Blue Bellies", that time!" I said, "Take care, Smith, 
they'll get you." He had taken about twenty 
shots when a ball glanced through a crack in the 
rocks, and struck him in the stomach. He fell over, 
calling lustily for the litter-bearers, saying, "I'm 
shot through the paunch". I noticed blood in front 
and rear, as the Utter-bearers took him up. I picked 
up his rifle, and shot the cartridges that remained 
in his box. That was the only time I fired a rifle 
at anybody during the war, except at Kennesaw 
Mountain. I used my Colt's Navy pistol, sometimes, 
at close quarters. 

Did you ever hear the wh'st-wh'st, the zip-zip of 
rifle balls as they passed your head? You don't 
hear the one that hits you. The enemy discovered 
that three of their lines had melted away, and that 
our rock ledge was a dangerous point to tackle. 
They did not come out of the woods any more in 

152 



THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN 

our front. We lay behind the fence, about one hour, 
watching the battle rage ; our men firing sometimes, 
to their right and left, but the distance was too great, 
we thought. Lt. Col. Glover at length informed Gol. 
Jas. A. Walker, commanding the Brigade, that the 
21st Georgia could no longer be effective, in its 
position, as the enemy could not be reached; and 
received permission to change front forward on the 
left, swinging around into the "Smoke Town" road, 
so as to get on the flank of the fellows fighting Law- 
ton's Brigade. 

The enemy had twice brought up fresh troops, 
and Lawton's Brigade seemed to be badly used up. 
Lawton, Gen'l. Gom'd'g Ewell's Division, had been 
wounded, and Gol. Douglas, Gom'd'g Lawton's (Ga.) 
Brigade, had been killed. Our Lt. Gol. Glover was 
shot through the body as the order for us to advance 
was sent down the line. 

I took command, being the senior officer 43resent. 
I instructed the Regiment to go at double quick, 
open order, until they got to the fence across the 
Smoke Town road. As soon as we left the rock 
fence, our object was divined; the enemy, in the 
woods in our front, opened on us, and the left Regi- 
ment fighting Lawton's Brigade, commenced to fire 
at us left-oblique. A number of our men were hit. 
As I threw my leg over the top rail of the last fence, 
a minnie ball went through the rail, the folds of my 
blanket and oil cloth, striking me squarely on the 
sword clasp. I fell into the road unconscious, lying 
upon elevated ground. I recovered my senses in a 
few minutes, and the men seeing the earth around 
me cut by the bullets, called to me, "Grawl down 
here, Gaptain". I crawled down to where the men 
were firing through the rail fence. Just as I got 
there Lt. Jno. Wesley Blevins, a gallant soldier of 
my Gompany, was shot through the shoulder, and 
fell. I helped him up, and told him where he would 
find our surgeons. Poor fellow, he had a bad 
wound. He hobbled out and found the surgeons, 

153 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

-and finally recovered. He was sheriff of Dade 
County after the War, and a prominent Mason and 
church member until his death. 

Captain M. T. Castleberry, Company "C", started 
to ask me about Blevins' wound; a ball went into 
his mouth, and through his head, he fell against 
the fence, his head lying low, and bent back. I 
pulled him around so as to elevate his head, and put 
8 cartridge-box under it. As I did so, I heard our 
boys crying out, "They are running!" Looking over 
the fence, I saw that the Yankee line was falling 
back into the woods. I sent word to Lawton's right 
Regiment, that we were going to advance in their 
front. I then ordered the 21st forward. 

When we reached the woods, the enemy was 
gone. We pressed forward through the woods, un- 
til we were near its extremity. Mansfield's Corps 
could be seen advancing. We also observed a Regi 
ment advancing towards us through a field. 

I deployed the 21st "open order" and ordered ev- 
ery man and officer to take cover, (a tree or dinf 
kind of shelter they could find), and to open on 
them as soon as they got in range. I said to my offi- 
cers: "If we draw their fire, and they stop to shoot, 
we can hold our position. If, however, they continue 
to advance, we will fall back skirmishing, as we 
are a half-mile ahead of the rest of our line." 

Did the officers take shelter? Yes, you bet they 
did! We had learned to conserve our strength, and 
that at times "discretion is the better part of 
valor". It is the fortune of sharpshooters to ex- 
pc-ric^nce all the romance and glamour of war, and 
to these was added enough of danger to make the 
service exciting and exhilarating. Placed between 
the lines of two great armies, they saw at least the 
bei>-innings of all movements, and had the first in- 
timations of that pleasurable feeling, the "gaudium 
certaminis" which battle ever brings to the heart 
of the true soldier. 

154 



THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN 

When the enemy had advanced in easy range 
from our position, I ordered the Regiment to open 
on them. Our firing drew theirs. They halted, and 
seemed to be in great confusion, as they fired volleys 
at random. I have since learned through corres-' 
pondence with Lt. Geo. M. Gould of Portland, Me.y 
Adjutant of the Regiment, that this was "the 10th 
Me. Infantry". He wrote to me, saying that "Gen- 
eral Jas A."^ Walker, of Wytheville, Virginia, had 
given him my address, saying that he thought I 
could give him the information as to the Regiment 
jtie was fighting, etc. That I had gone ahead of 
the Brigade by order, and became detached." Gould's 
letter says "Maj. General Mansfield rode up with his 
staff, and ordered the 10th Maine to cease firing,, 
saying, "You are shooting your friends; there are 
no Rebs. so far advanced". Gould adds, "I replied, 
"I know they are Rebs., General, by their hats," and 
at that moment General Mansfield and his horse 
were shot." I helped bear him to a branch in the 
rear, where in a few moments he expired." 

I have Adgt. Gould's correspondence paying high 
tribute to the gallantry of the 21st Ga. Regt. in this 
advanced position. 

The 10th Maine retired and our firing ceased. 
About this time, eleven o'clock a. m., as nearly as 
T can remember. Walker, Hood and Early advanced 
their Divisions nearly up to this position, and drove 
Mansfield's Corps off the field, and back across 
Antietam Greek. But the advanced position of the 
Confederate Divisions exposed them to an enfilade 
fire from artillery, and their ammunition was get- 
tine; low. 

Finally General Lee, finding his line too long for 
the number of men he had. withdrew them to the 
JDunkard Church line. After this, for more than an 
hour, firing ceasod. Then the 2nd Corps, under 
Of^n':'ral Sumner, advanced. Sedgwick in the lead. 
General Sumner testifies : "On going upon the field 
I found that Gen. Hooker's Corps had been dispersed 

155 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

and routed. I passed him some distance in the rear, 
where he had been carried, wounded; but I saw 
nothing of his Corps at all, as I was advancing with 
my Command on the field. There were some troops 
lying down on the left, which I took to belong to 
Mansfield's command." 

"In the meantime, General Mansfield had been 
killed and his Corps thrown into confusion" (Re- 
port of Congressional Committee, part 1st, page 
368.) 

Then McLaws' Division arrived from Harper's 
Ferry, vigorously attacked Sedgwick's Division, 
and drove him pell-mell back to the Roulette House, 
where they (McLaws' Division) encountered the 
rest of Surnner's Corps, under French, and a part 
of the 12th Corps. This was far in advance again 
and the Confederates were once more drawn back 
to original line. The 21st Georgia Regiment was 
relieved by the 4th Alabama Infantry about on^' 
o'clock p. m. and ordered to report to General R. E, 
Lee's headquarters, on the Sharpsburg and Shep- 
pards-town pike. 

As we went to the rear, the spot was passedi 
where we had fought in the Smoketown road. I 
said to the men of Company "C", "Let us take Gap- 
tain Castleberry's body out an3 send it to Atlanta 
for burial," but we found it had been removed. 

Reporting to General Lee, whom I found viewing 
our right-field through his glasses, and giving or- 
ders to couriers as they arrived, I was ordered to 
form my Regiment across the pike, and halt all 
stragglers coming out of the town. 

Burnsides had massed and made his terrific on- 
slaught across the "Stone Bridge", similar to Na- 
poleon's Charge at the "Bridge of Lodi". His first 
charge with two Brigades was repulsed. His grand 
charge was about one o'clock. He carried the bridge, 
with General Ferrero's Brigade, supported by a con- 
siderable force. At the same moment Rodman's Di- 
vision crossed the Antietam at a ford lower down 

156 



THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN 

The 9th Corps led by Cox and Burnsides, (both 
of whom bravely exposed themselves) occupied the 
heights between Sharpsburg and the river, along 
the side of which wound tlie Rohersville road. 

Burnsides halted for two fatal hours, waiting for 
two more of his Divisions to cross over. This mad'^ 
it three o'clock when A. P. Hill's Division arrived 
from Harper's Ferry, and fell suddenly upon his 
left flank. 

Col. H. W. Kingsberry, who was killed near the 
Burnsides Bridge, gallantly leading the 11th Con- 
necticut Regiment, was a brother-in-law of Maj. 
General D. R. Jones, who commanded the Confed- 
erates opposing. Wright's and Toombs' Georgia 
Brigades and Pender's Virginia Brigade of D. R. 
Jones' Division, had resisted until the enemy pressed 
over them by sheer weight of numbers. Longstree+ 
said: "That night. I m.et Gen. D. R. Jones, in tears, 
over the death of Colonel Kingsberry — who was his 
brother-in-law." . 

My cousin. Col. R. B. Nisbet (Eatonton, Georgia), 
commanding the 3rd Georgia Infantry (Wright's 
Brigade) received three severe wounds and fell in'o 
the hands of the enemy. He was taken off the field 
and sent to Baltimore, where, by permission of the 
officer in charge of the ambulances containing the 
wounded prisoners, he was taken to the private resi- 
dence of Col. Robt. Brent, a prominent lawyer of 
that city; furnished the best medical attention, and 
tenderly nursed back to health by the daughters of 
Colonel Brent. Col. Nisbet was finally exchanged, 
returned to his Regiment, and was wounded again. 
He rose from the rank of Captain. There was no 
bf^tter soldier! After the War, he practiced his pro- 
fession of medicine, except when called to repre- 
sent his constituents in various positions of trust. 
He died a few years ago, at the age of seventy-five. 
Handsome, brilliant, chivalrous, this was one of 
Nature's noblemen. 

157 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

To that jDarticular afternoon when under General 
Le?'s immediate command, I lool^ back with pleas- 
ure. I conversed with him several times that day. 
He was the only man I ever met who measured up 
to my conception of Washington. The manly 
grandeur of his appearance is beyond my powers 
of portraiture. He is ineffaceable. 

The sight of passing stragglers from Longstreet's 
Corps, pouring out of the town — there were num- 
bers of 'em — worried General Lee. He came in per- 
son out to the pike, several times; and said to me:' 
"Captain, don't let any pass but wounded men. Halt 
all others, and form them into line, in your rear) 
Let the wounded go on to Sheppardstown." 

The result of the battle seemed doubtful until A. 
P. Hill's Division, from Harper's Ferry arrived. They 
were in good condition, and cheered General Lee 
as they hurried on. The old General's worried look 
left him as he noticed the enthusiasm of Hill's Di- 
vision. He raised his hat to salute each passing 
Regiment. I saw them pass and go into the fight. 
General Lee looked and seemed, much relieved, after 
couriers had reported their success, and that Burn- 
sides had been driven back across the Antietam, and 
the battery recaptured. 

General Longstreet rode up, "Ah, here is my old 
War Horse at last'. General Lee exclaimed, throw- 
ing his hands affectionately on Longstreet's shoul- 
d?rs. General Lee had notified Hill by courier, as 
he was marching from Harper's Ferry that D. R. 
Jones' Division was threatened by overwhelming 
numbers; that the Ridge was the key to the battle- 
field. Hill sent forward Mcintosh's Battery. They 
came by at full gallop, passed through the town, 
and went into action on the Ridge, just as Burn- 
sides made his final charge on Jones' Division, 
which was overpowered, and the Battery captured. 
Of this, Major General A. P. Hill reports: "I sent 
forward Mcintosh's Battery to aid D. R. Jones and 
my troops were not a moment too soon. The enemy 

158 



THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN 

had already advanced in three (3) lines, broken 
Jones' Division, captured Mcintosh's Battery, and 
were in full tide of success. Archer's Brigade (Ten- 
nessee) charged them, retook Mcintosh's guns and 
drove them back pell-mell. Branch and Gregg pour- 
ing in destructive volleys; the tide of the enemy 
surged back and breaking into confusion, passed 
out of sight. The three Brigades of my Division 
engaged, did not number over two thousand men 
present, and these, with the help of my splendid 
Batteries, and the men who had rallied from the 
Toombs, Wright's and Pender's Brigade that had 
been routed, drove back Burnsides' Corps of fifteen 
thousand men." 

Brigadier General L. 0. B. Branch, of North Caro- 
lina, wfis killed; Gen. Gregg, of South Carolina, 
wounded; Major Pegram, commanding artillery, 
wounded. Loss, sixty-three killed, two hundred 
and eighty-three wounded. 

We lay upon the field that night, and the next 
day, and until ten o'clock the next night, when we 
withdrew, covering the retirement of the army, 
crossing the Potomac at five o'clock next morning 
(19th). 

In the American Nation — A History "edited by A. 
B. Hart, Prof, of History, Harvard University, Vol. 
20, Page 198 — we find the following in regard to 
this conflict: "The battle of Antietam was over, 
Jackson wanted to advance, and striking out be- 
yond the Federal right, to double up the Federal 
army, but Longstreet advised against it, and the in- 
tended movement was abandoned. Lee, therefore, 
held the battlefield defiantly throughout the 18th, 
then withdrew his army unmolested across the 
Potomac." 

Jackson's Corps had struck McClellan's right 
wing a terrible blow, defeating Hooker's Mans- 
field's and Sedgwick's Corps; driving them from the 
field. McClellan was impressed. He says, "I held 
Porter in reserve to cover retreat. My reserves had 

159 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

all been sent to hold Jackson in check, who was' 
doubling back at my right." (see War Records). 

McGlellan overestimated Lee's strength, which 
was only one-half the number of the Union Army, 
or less, as was claimed. Lee's Regiments were only 
skeletons, from straggling, and losses at Second 
Manassas, a few weeks previous. General McGlel- 
lan's Official Report says he had eighty-seven thou- 
sand five hundred officers and men engaged. 

Colonel Taylor, Lee's Adgt. General, says, "Lee 
had only thirty-five thousand officers and men for 
duty, the morning of the battle." These were re- 
inforced during the day by McLaw's and Hill's 
Divisions, which made the total engaged 
about forty thousand men. General Lee, in his re- 
port claimed he had only thirty-three thousand en- 
gaged, the morning of the battle." 

"The rapid movement which had brought Lee's 
army from the Rapidan to the Potomac, had not 
been performed without great sacrifices. The main 
body of the army had marched forward; but like 
those comets which we are told leave a portion of 
their substance in the region of space, it had left a 
swarm of stragglers behind which had increased 
every stage. 

Every army is followed by such a tail, but in this 
respect Lee had the advantage, that his lame and 
sick, animated with the desire to join their more 
able-bodied comrades, in order to participate in 
their glorious labors, were helped on by food and 
shelter and the care and encouragement calculated 
to renew their strength. Their gray coats were a 
passport which secured them the sympathies of all 
the inhabitants. They could not follow us into 
Maryland, but Lee had left orders for them to rally 
at Winchester. So, for a few days the passes of 
the Blue Ridge were thronged with twenty thousand 
of these men struggling to reach the rendezvous. 
Of no use, however, as long as the campaign was 
prosecuted in Maryland. 

160 



THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN 

The United States War Reports say: "McGlellan 
received fifteen thousand fresh troops the next day 
(18th) from Washington and elsewhere." Yet he 
did not venture to attacli. We were in Une, ready, 

The battle of Antietam was the most fiercely con- 
tested conflict of the War. The records show that 
more men were killed and wounded in the ten hours' 
fighting there, than in any other one day's battle. 

Ghickamauga was a three days' fight, Second Man- 
assas, three, and Shiloh, two. When the battle end- 
ed at night-fall, I was still at General Lee's head- 
quarters. The excitement over, 1 felt sick from the 
bullet-blow I had received on the solar-plexus that 
morning. I laid down by the pike, considerably 
nauseated. 

One of my old County friends. Bill Stewart, of 
Company "A", 6th Georgie Regiment, Colquitt's Bri- 
gade, came along, slightly wounded. He offered to 
help me, by loosening my clothing, and taking off 
my blanket and rubber cloth. As he unfolded the 
blanket, the flattened bullet dropped out. After go- 
ing through the folds of my blanket and rubber 
cloth, it had struck my sword clasp and recoiled. 
Said Bill: "Your old Macon friend, Maj. Phil. Tracey 
of our Regiment was killed, and also my Captain, 
Jno. Hanna." 

He reported many other casualties in his Com- 
pany and the Regiment. Said they occupied a 
point near the "sunken road," a salient in our line 
which was enfiladed by Richard's batteries. There 
were five of these Stewart brothers in Captain 
Hanna's Company. One was killed : the others served 
through the War and are now living on their farms, 
in Dade County. Georgia; temperamentally young as 
they approach the Octogenarian mark, with their 
great-grandchildren playing around them. Good 
citizens, highly respected, always firm in upholding 
the right, they enjoy the esteem of all who know 
them. 

161 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Our surgeon, after examining my wound, or- 
dered me to the hospital at Shepperdstown, across 
the river, as I was unfit for duty, and it was ex- 
pected the fight would be renewed next day. T 
agreed to go across the river, as I wanted to lool^ 
after my wounded men. The ambulances were all 
in use, conveying the badly wounded across the 
Potomac. All the slightly wounded were passing 
over on foot. 

That night, in company with Captain Henry Bat- 
tle (Polk County "), Company "D", 21st Georgia, who 
was shot through the calf of the leg, I forded the 
Potomac river. We found private quarters at Shep- 
erdstown, and the next morning we went to a 
church whpre the wounded of Trimble's Brigade 
had been carried. The citizens were devoted in 
their attentions to the wounded, and the young 
ladies angelic in their ministerings. 

My red-haired man was there; greedily consum- 
ing all the chicken and jellies he could get. One 
of the pretty, dainty girls asked him, "Where are 
you wounded"? he answersd, "right through the 
paunch", as he rolled his white eyes around on some 
other delicacy, carried by a servant. The girls said 
to the servant, "Give that soldier something very 
delicate," and quickly passed on, "giggling", as they 
cut their eyes at me ! The surgeon informed me that 
the glancing ball had run around under the soldier's 
skin and come out at his back. He soon got well. 

In my rounds I came to the wounded of the At- 
lanta Company, and after seeing to their comfort, 
I asked what became of Captain Gastleberry's body? 
"They said, "He ain't dead, he's up in the "organ 
loft". I went up there. He was lying on a mattress, 
his head very much swollen, his tongue, cut by 
the bullet, protruding so that he could not speak. 
I asked him if he knew me. He nodded. To en- 
courage him, I said, "I think. Captain, you will re- 
cover." Again he nodded his head. In two or three 
months he was well and back in command of his 

162 



THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN 

Company, but I think he finally had to resign from 
the effects of his wound. Gapt. Sam Hazlett was 
in command of that Company at the surrender, with 
Lts. Jones and Rticker. 

For many years after the War Castleberry was a 
successful contractor in Atlanta, and active in the 
upbuilding of the city and its government. One of 
the prominent streets there is named for him. 

Gen'l. Lpp's objpct in going into Maryland was to 
gain a good moral effect, from the defeat he had, 
just given Pope, by carrying the War away from 
Richmond and, of course, he expected to get some 
recruits, and if successful, invade Pennsylvania. 

When we reached Frederick City, the opportunity 
to capture Harper's Ferry was offered, and seized; 
aftpr'this. it would have been best for him to have 
reunited his corps on the Virginia side. If he had 
wanted to fiaht in Maryland, it would have br^en 
better for the battle to have been fought on the 
Boonsboro and Crampton Gap line, where Lee would 
have had the advantage of position, and as it turned 
out, McClellan had the advantage at Sharpsburg. 

Before dismissing my account of this battle, I 
will fiivo a brief synopsis of some of the General's 
reports : 

Stonpwall Jackson's report says, in part: "Ewell's 
Division arrived at Sharnsburg late at night. F^bv. 
lP>th. and slept on their arms n^ar "Dunkard 
Church." Lawton's and Trimble's Brigades «d- 
vanc^d to the front to rpli^ve Hood's Division 
Trimble's Brigade on the ri ght of Lawton's, and 
npxi to Ripley's Brigade of D. H. Hill's Division. 
Federal Battery posted so as to enfilade my line. 
Battle nponed at dawn, and at close of the day my 
troops held the ground which they had occupied 
in thp morning. 

In ^he afternoon, by order of Commanding Gen- 
eral. I moved to left to turn enemies right, but t^he 
bpud of the river there, the nature of the ground, 
and the position and numbers of his batteries made 

163 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

it inexpedient to hazard the attempt. Lt. Gen'l. 
Jeb. Stuart accompanied me, and so advised; as did 
Lon£>street. After noon the enemy again advanced 
to Dunkard Church line; Early and McLaws arrived 
and drove them back. That ended the contest on 
our left. All regimental commanders of Hays', Law- 
ton's and Trimble's Brigades were either killed or 
wounded. Gen. A. R. Lawton, commanding Ewell's 
Division, was wounded; Col. Douglas, commanding 
Lawton's Brigade, killed; Col. J. A. Walker, com- 
manding Trimble's Brigade, wounded. The next 
dav we remained in position, awaiting another at- 
tack. Early in the morning of the 19th. we recross- 
ed the Potomac." 

Lt. Gen'l. James Longstreet's report, in part, is 
as follows : "Gen'l. McClellan's plan of battle was 
not strong, and the handling of his troops was less 
so. The best tactical moves at Antietam were made 
by McLaws and A. P. Hill's Confederate Divisions, 
and Gibbons', Patricks' and Barlow's Federal Di- 
visions. 

Referring to Sumner's advance in the afternoon, 
he said: "Passing in, he left Dunkard Church to 
the left, as McLaws approached with Cobb's and 
Semme's Georgia Brigades; Kershaw's South Caro- 
lina and Barksdale's Mississippi Brigades. As Ker- 
shaw filed into line his command opened fire, the 
other Confederate Brigade coming into line, caught 
Sedgwick in a circle. Gen'l. Sumner ordered his rear 
Brigade to about-face, to give more room; but the 
Brigade interpreted the order to retreat, the other 
Brigades following. 

McLaws pushed his success and drove them pell- 
mell a half mile to the position we had driven, 
Hooker in the morning, to the post fence (Roulette 
House). And there, McLaws encountered French's 
Division of Sumner's Corps. After quite a hot con- 
test, French's Division gave way. But in face of 
fresh Federal troops that were coming up, McLaws 
withdrew from his advanced position. McClellan 

164 



THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN 

came up in person, and ordered Sumner not to ad- 
vance again, saying, 'It will not be prudent to ad- 
vance". 

Gen'l. Sumner says: "Just then the Rebs. came 
pouring into the woods with infantry, and planted 
a battery there, which opened a severe fire upon 
us. This was about two 'oclock p. m." 

Longstreet, in his report, adds: "All of the lost 
ground on our right was recovered by the defeat of 
Burnsides by A. P. Hill's Division; aided by Tombs' 
Wright's and Kemper's rallied Brigades — before the 
slow-advancing night dropped her mantle upon this 
field of the bloodiest strife of the War; seldom squal- 
led by any fight of modern times." 

Lt. Gen'l. John B. Gordon (who was severely 
wounded) says: "The Confederates place it among 
the drawn battles of the War. McGlellan was the 
aggressor and declined to renew his efforts, not- 
withstanding his numerical superiority, made 
larger by the arrival of fresh troops from Washing- 
ton and elsewhere; although the Confederates in- 
vited him to renew his attack, by flying their flags 
in his front during the whole of the following day; 
although the battle tide swayed to and fro, with 
alternate onsets and recoils, on the different por- 
tions of the field, yet in the main, the Federal as- 
saults were successfully repelled. 

With the capture of Harper's Ferry and Mc-Clel- 
lan's terrible repulse on the 20th, at Shepperdstown, 
the honors of the campaign are due Gen'l. Lee." 

In his report, Gen'l. Lee claims only a "drawn 
fight", and after congratulating his army for its 
heroic stand against such odds, concludes with a 
eulogy to Col. Cocke of the 27th. North Carolina 
Regiment, and to Capt. Miller and Sergeant EHis 
and their men, of the Washington artillery. "They 
were heroic." 

Notwithstanding all this evidence (Union and 
Confederate) now comes Gen'l. Nelson Miles, in a 
series of articles on "Antietam" in late numbers of 

12 165 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

the Cosmopolitan Magazine, claiming a victory foi 
the Union forces and that the Rebels were swepi 
from the field. Seeing his bald statement, unsus- 
tained by aiiy facts, has caused me to give the de- 
tails of this conflict more at length than I intended. 

An abstract statement from such high authority 
as General Miles, in the face of conceded facts, un- 
less accompanied by concrete experiences, have lit- 
tle value. And so it is interesting to see what Gen- 
eral Miles' Compatriots say about this part of the 
battle. 

Brigadier General Thomas Francis Meagher, com- 
manding the "Irish Brigade" — of Richardson's Di- 
vision, Sumner's Corps — says in part: "When we 
arrived, French's Division, as well as Sedgwick, had 
given away. 

My Brigade went in, was badly cut up, and could 
not proceed, but held their ground until Caldwell's 
Brigade relieved us, (Barlow and Miles' Regiments) 
we retired to the second line of defense." 

Major General Wingfield Scott Hancock, com- 
manding Richardson's Division (after General Rich- 
ardson was wounded) — Sumner's Corps — reports: 
"On the 17th, moved forward to ravine behind Rou- 
lette House, Meagher's Brigade advanced to Piper 
House under heavy fire from enemy in "sunken- 
road," directly in its front. Brigade suffered terri- 
bly, and was relieved by Brigade of General Cald- 
well; which advanced to crest of hill overlooking 
sunken-road." He adds, ^'We held our ground and 
kept the enemy in check." "The enemy's skirmish- 
ers and sharpshooters annoyed us the next day, (the 
dSth)." That ivas strange, after all of them had 
been driven off the field by Miles! It appears from 
the reports of Col. Francis C. Barlow and Lt. Col. 
Nelson A. Miles that their two Regiments did gain 
an advantage at the "sunken-road", but it was only 
temporary. Miles, in his report, (see Govt. Report, 
Series 1, Vol. 30) does not make the claim of victory 
contained in his late magazine article, but says : 

K6 



THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN 

"Finding we were ahead of the other part of our 
line. I reformed to the left, in line with the Slsfc 
Pennsylvania, and was not engaged again that day," 
As to that second position, Maj. H. Boyd McKeen, 
81st Pensylvania Infantry, reports: "We formed in 
rear of 2nd Delaware Regiment, which gave way. 
We halted them and they returned to the front line, 
etc." 

It seems that the 81st Pennsylvania was in the 
second line, in rear of 2nd Delaware, and that when 
Miles, as he says, formed in line with that Regiment 
(81st Pa.) it was a retreat from his advanced posi- 
tion. 

General E. V. Sumner, in his report does not 
claim to have "driven the enemy from the field," 
merely to have "kept the enemy back, or held them 
in check." Maj-Gen. Wm. B. Franklin (6th. Corps) 
who had been held as reserves, throws more light 
on the situation. His report says: "They" (Sum- 
ner's Corps) "had all disappeared when my Corp^. 
ca.me up. We were only slightly engaged." 

The Compte de Paris, who was one of McGlellan's 
staff, in his history of the "Army of the Potomac," 
says: "Tactically and strategically, McClellan was 
defeated at Antietam, Politically, it was a victory." 
It gave Lincoln a pretext to issue his Emancipation 
Proclamation; which, as Rhodes, the Historian, 
says, "if further postponed, might never have been 
issued." 

The Northern troops, at Second Manassas and at 
Sharpsburg, fought with a gallantry that extorted 
our admiration. They were led by Generals of the 
coolest courage and the highest abilities. 

On the 27th. of September Jackson's Corps retired 
to Bunker Hill, near Winchester, where we passed 
the month of October, recuperating. 

McClellan advanced across the Potomac, and oc- 
cupied Martinsburg, Shepperdstown and Harper's 
Ferry. 

Stuart's Cavalry gallantly resisted their further 
advance down the valley. 

167 



XVI. 

RESTING. 

Throughout the bright October days, the army 
rested and recovered health and spirits. It was the 
season when all nature is glorious with that beauty 
which seems to attain perfection just ere it is gone; 
when the fields and forests are resplendent trans- 
lations of color: 

"The pregnant fable left half told, — 
A fading blush of morning gold." 

The bracing air made us boys again ; filling every 
pulse with life. Our men had few duties to per- 
form. For them, just then, it was eating, sleeping, 
frolicking; to say nothing of preaching and pray- 
ing. Big revival-meetings were held in every Bri- 
gade. 

As the Rev. Jos. Stiles was conducting the 
services for Trimble's Brigade, it was my good for- 
tune to see "Old Jack" nearly every day. He would 
come through the woods from his Headquarters, 
walking, and take a seat in our midst, on a log 
or stump. On one occasion a camp-stool was of- 
fered him, but he waved it away. He was always 
carefully dressed; often in a new uniform presented 
him by one of his officer friends. His appearance 
was scrupulously neat; except when on a hard, 
dusty march. On foot, he had a military carriage; 
he was erect and alert. His manner was always 
kind and considerate. 

Five days after Antietam we saw Lincoln's Eman- 
cipation Proclamation. Of this, Woodrow Wilson's 
History says: "For eighteen months Mr. Lincoln 
had waited upon opinion, with a patience which 
deeply irritated all who wished radical action taken. 
Lincoln, when the time was ripe, wished by trans- 
forming the contest from a war waged against 

168 



RESTING 

states fighting for their independence, into a war 
against states fighting for the maintenance and ex- 
tension of slavery; by making some open move for 
emancipation as the real motive of the struggle. 
Lincoln had come into office declaring he had no 
intention whatever to molest slavery in the states; 
and he knew he must wait for the people at his 
back to change their temper, under the stress of 
fighting, before he openly turned about to accept a 
revolution and seek emancipation as the object of 
the war. He gave the Southern States one hundred 
days to return to their allegiance. On the 1st. of 
Jan., 1863, accordingly, he put forth a definite Proc- 
lamation of Emancipation. The fight was now on 
for the negro, and was ever after pushed on that 
line. 

This Proclamation was one of the decisive po- 
litical events of the war, and at once put the great 
struggle outwardly and openly upon the basis where 
it had before rested only by tacit and covert under- 
standing." 

On the 30th. of September and 13th of October 
Lincoln was urging McGlellan to advance, but he 
remained inert; although reported to have one hun- 
dred and one thousand men. Lincoln got out of 
humor, and said: "It isn't any longer the Army of 
the Potomac: it's just McGlellan's bodyguard." 
McClellan pleaded want of supplies. General Hal- 
leck in reply, said: "No armies in the world, while 
in campaign, have been more promptly or better 
supplied than ours." and finally said: "The Presi- 
dent directs that you cross the Potomac and give 
battle to the enemy, or drive him south." So, now, 
at length McGlellan had to move his army forward. 
He decided to advance against Richmond by the 
Piedmont route, southeast of the Blue Ridge. He 
crossed the Potomac south of Harper's Ferry, and 
advanced to Warrenton; where he found Long- 
street's Gorps in his front. The newspapers were 
enquiring "Where's Jackson?" To all appearances 

169 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Jackson's Corps was lost. We just went on with 
our athletic games, our revivals, frolicking and 
courting, and left the papers — North and South — to 
guess. 

Thirty-five years after the battle of Antietam was 
fought, I received a letter from Major General Gar- 
man, Chief of the Antietam Park Commission, ask- 
ing about the position of the 21st. Ga. Regiment in 
that battle. He wrote : "General Jas. A. Walker, of 
W^ytheville, Va., who commanded Trimble's Bri- 
gade that day, has referred me to you, as one who 
can inform me about the movements of the 21st, 
Georgia Regiment after it had become detached from 
the rest of the Brigade." He added: "The Com- 
mission is putting up iron tablets to note the posi- 
tion of each Brigade and Regiment there. Union and 
Confederate." 

W^e corresponded at intervals for two years, and 
•General Carmen's final letter says: "I find that 
your recollections as to the movements of your 
Regiment are perfectly clear and correct; and the 
Commission has ordered the marker for the 21st. 
Ga. Infantry Reg. placed in the advanced position 
testified to by you and Federal officers." 

Before the war General Carman was a professor 
with Bushrod Johnson in the Nashville Military 
college of which Kirby Smith was president. John- 
son and Carman were both Northern men, but 
espoused opposite sides in the War between the 
States. As a Division Commander, Bushrod John- 
son had no superior in the Confederate Army. 

Major-General E. A. Carman became a distin- 
guished officer in the Union Army. After the death 
of G^^n. Jas. A. Boynton he was appointed chief of 
the Chickamauga Park and Missionary Ridge Com- 
mission. He came on to Chattanooga, and at the 
first meeting of the Park Commission, the question 
of correcting certain tablets which had been erected 
on thp battlefields was under consideration. I had 
submitted an application to the effect that the tab- 

170 



RESTING 

let erected to mark the position of Wilson's Georgia 
Brigade on Missionary Ridge, be changed to con- 
form to a Roster of the Brigade's commanding of- 
ficers, which Roster I submitted. On taking up my 
application. General Carman asked, "Who is this 
Colonel Nisbet? I had a long correspondence with 
a Captain Nisbet, who commanded the 21st. Geor- 
gia Regiment at Antietam. He insisted that we 
should erect the tablet for that Regiment half a mile 
in advance of Trimble's position— and there we put 
it! Now, IV hat Nisbet is this?" 

Captain J. Polk Smartt answered that it was one 
and the same Nisbet. "Well," replied the General, 
"he was a ubiquitous fellow. And he certainly 
knew "where he was "at!" 

The Commission ordered the tablet erected near 
the tunnel over Sherman Heights : with the Roster as 
I submitted it : my name appearing as Brigade Com- 
mander. 

In the clover fields and groves of the Shenandoah, 
deep in the recesses of the Blue Ridge, the frolics 
and revivals went merrily on. From New York to 
Jupiter's Inlet the press echoed "Where's Stonewall 
Jackson?" Go to: We were making hay while 
the sun shone. How often had the "foot-cavalry" 
marching over the pikes, gazed awesomely at those 
beautiful rosy-cheeked, valley girls, who. from the 
doors of their'homes waved Confederate flags to us; 
or flocked forth to tender the passing infantryman 
"light-bread and apple-butter," — with what sustain- 
ing words of cheer and encouragement! 

Hitherto, our troops — in the bonds of military 
discipline— had been as intangible as a gray cloud 
in the eyes of the Virginia girl. Now, we became 
individuals. Now the tender eyes that had shone, 
or filled with tears, at the sight of marching thou- 
sands, smiled upon "him"! "But why talk of a 
man in love? Rather, say a man possessed! To be 
possessed by the devil is the exception; to be pos- 
sessed by a woman, the rule." What a sorceres? 

171 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

is a pretty woman. Sometimes in those high tides 
of feeling, we would fain have poured out the story 
of our overflowing heart. We yearned for sym- 
pathy. But McGlellan had moved his army from 
our front, crossed the Potomac south of the Blue 
Ridge and advanced to Warrenton Springs, where 
he established his headquarters. Very soon there- 
after, he received an order to turn the command of 
the Army of the Potomac over to General Ambrose 
Burnsides. 

It seemed as if McGlellan's military life had at 
last ended, and we were glad of it; because he was 
a skillful organizer and engineer officer, and in- 
spired his troops with more enthusiasm than any 
other Federal officer. 

How he held their confidence even after de- 
feat, can't be explained, if it be true that he 
stayed away from the firing line. Gertain 
of his Northern enemies charge that he did not cross 
the Ghickahominy until Fitz-John Porter's fight at 
"Gold Harbor" was over. That at Malvern Hill, he 
was down at the Transports during the fighting — 
and at Antietam (most of the day) he was "way 
back on a high hill," with two telescopes strapped 
to the top of a fence, watching the battle. They as- 
sert, too, that had he galloped along the line at 
Antietam after Hooker's and Mansfield's repulse, it 
would have revived the spirits of his troops. 

McGlellan was displeased with the promulgation 
of the Emancipation Proclamation , and Lincoln was 
afraid he would not be zealous in executing the 
negro policy. It was charged in the Democratic 
papers of the North that Lincoln 'feared that Mc- 
Glellan would compromise with General Lee and 
stop the war : restoring the Union on the plan of the 
Northern Democrats. At any rate we knew he was 
superior to Burnsides; and in that, the change suit- 
ed us. We liked him because he made war like a 
gentleman; and ive loved him for the enemies he 
had made! 

172 



XVII. 

FREDERICKSBURG CAMPAIGN. 

When McClellan reached Warrenton he found 
Longstreet's Corps on the Rappahannock facing his 
army. Burnsides said he did not feel qualified for 
the job, but Lincoln, Stanton and Halleck insisted 
that he was, so accordingly, he assumed command, 
and moved his army down the Rappahannock river 
opposite Fredericksburg, and extended his line 
twenty miles below, opposite Port Royal. 

On November 21st, we bade the valley girls good- 
bye; promising to come back; and commenced our 
march down the valley. Through Winchester to 
New Market, where the head of the column turned 
towards the Blue Ridge, on to Columbia Bridge, 
which spans the eastern branch of the Shenandoah, 
and thence to Luray Court House. 

When our pike road leading across the Blue 
Ridge turned up the Hawks-bill Valley, our 
boys struck a lively gait. Capt. Hamilton 
was commanding the Regiment. We were 
halted for a ten minutes rest, as was custom- 
ary with Jackson's Corps, after marching two 
miles. My company requested me to make a de- 
tail to take the canteens, and buy apple brandy for 
all that wanted it. Capt. Hamilton consented; so 
each company made a detail. When we made the 
Valley Campaign in the Spring, our men had found 
Kite's still-house at the head of Hawks-bill Valley, 
at the foot of the mountain. When the detailed 
men went through the big apple orchard, and got 
to the still-house, they were halted by a cavalry 
guard, who said that General Jubal Early command- 
ing Ewell's Division had forbidden Kite selling 
brandy to his men. This being reported, the Regi- 
ment led by Capt. Hamilton broke ranks and went 

173 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

'Over there. Gapt. Hamilton asked the Lieutenant 
of the Guard if General Early got any brandy as he 
passed? He answered. "Yes, he had his canteen 
filled, and the keg behind his ambulance." Gapt. 
Hamilton said, "Then we will buy what we want," 
and told old mate Kite to use certain men to draw 
the liquor, and to receive the money. When w^e 
had bought what we wanted, other Regiments were 
served, as they arrived. 

The pike road leading across the Blue Ridge to 
Madison Court House winds up the mountain by 
easy grade. It was a cool November afternoon, the 
brandy warmed the boys up, and made them hilar- 
ious. They sang corn-shucking songs. One of my 
men, Riley Thurman, who had a remarkably fine 
voice, led. The whole Brigade joined in the 
chorus; which they could do well, as the leading 
Regiment was often close to the rear of the Brigade, 
on account of the windings of the road. 

General Jackson caught up with us, and in try- 
ing to pass on was caught in the jam; and had to 
listen to some very risque couplets. The austere 
Presbyterian Elder could not hide his amusement 
at the cheek of the fellow leading. He did not seem 
to be worried, that his twenty thousand (20,000) 
veterans felt happy and light hearted. 

Lt. Jno. B. Gountiss and several men of my com- 
pany asked permission to stop and call on some girls 
on top of the mountain, whose acquaintance they 
had made in the Spring, during the Valley Gam- 
paiarn. I granted the request with the understanding 
that they must come to camp that night by roll-call. 

Brig. Generel Wm. Kirkland, temporarily com- 
manding our Brigade, came up behind us, to look 
after stragglers. Seeing soldiers at a house in sight 
of the pike, he rode over there, accompanied by 
his staff. The men had 21st Georgia on their caps. 
He asked Lt. Gountiss what they were doing there 
"straggling." Gountiss informed him that they 
were not stragglers, that they had permission to 

174 



FREDERICKSBURG CAMPAIGN 

stop. Kirkland ordered them to go on and catch\up 
with their Regiment. Goiintiss refused, and soi 
hot words passed, — not down in the Sunday School 
boolvs. Gountiss came down to camp that night 
much excited, said General Kirldand had insulted 
him, and that he was going to challenge General 
Kirkland to meet him in mortal combat the next 
morning. He asked me, "to act as his second." I 
tried to dissuade him from such an idea; told him 
to wait until morning; that maybe all of us had 
too much of Kite's good old apple-brandy, and that 
he would lay himself liable to be courtmartialed, 
for sending a challenge: and I would be also, 
for carrying it. He insisted on sending the chal- 
lenge, saying "he didn't care what the army regu- 
lations said about it." "No damn West Pointer 
could run over him." Finally I ordered one of my 
men to deliver the challenge. A sheet of paper and 
a white pine board were found. The apple-brandy 
and the imperfect light of a pine torch caused his 
writing to over-run the paper. Some of it appeared 
on the board. 

The challenge demanded that General Kirkland 
meet him in the morning at daylight, outside the 
camp, in mortal combat, and give him satisfaction 
for the insults offered. The man carried the mes- 
sage to Brigade Headquarters, and on being halted, 
announced to the guard, "A communication from 
the 21st Georgia Regiment." General Kirkland re- 
ceived the message, and after trying to read it, said, 
"What in the hell is all this?" My man told him 
that he would have to adjust the paper in such a 
manner that the lines would correspond with the 
lines on the board. He did so, and after he and his 
staff had enjoyed a hearty laugh over the contents, 
he said, "That is the Lieutenant we saw on the 
mountain," and fo the messenger said, "Go tell him, 
I will meet him." 

The next morning at daylight the corps was on 
the march to Fredricksburg, Where General Kirk- 

175 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

land commanded another Brigade, and was wound- 
ed. I heard no more of the incident. 

As to our march to Fredericksburg. The inhabit- 
ants of this favored region through which we pass- 
ed, were worthy of their inheritance. The devotion 
of all to the Southern cause was wonderful. No 
oppression, no destitution, could abate their zeal! 
The women sent husbands, sons, lovers, to battle as 
smilingly as to a marriage feast. With the Virgin- 
ian, patriotism was stronger even than the ties of 
blood. Through all the towns we passed, and along 
the pikes, we were greeted with enthusiasm. They 
met us at their doors and gates with the best of food 
and words of encouragement; mid smiles and tears, 
they waved Confederate flags — brought forth from 
their hiding places. It was ever thus with these 
noble women. Although insulted and plundered by 
the mvader, they never faltered in their loyalty to 
old Virginia and the South. "Ere the war closed 
the Valley was ravaged with a cruelty surpassing 
that afflicted on the palatinate two hundred years 
ago. That foul deed smirched the fame of Louvois 
and Turenne; and public opinion, in what has been 
deemed a ruder age, forced an apology from the 
"Grand Monarque." 

Yet we have seen the official report of a Federal 
General wherein are recounted the many barns, 
mills and houses destroyed; concluding with the as- 
sertion that "a crow flying over the valley must 
take his rations with him." "Moreover this same 
officer, General Sheridan, many years after the 
close of the war, denounced several hundred thou- 
sand of his fellow-Americans as "banditti" and so- 
licited permission of his Government to deal with 
them as such. May we not well ask whether re- 
ligion, education, science and art combined have 
lessened the brutality of man since the days of Wal- 
lenstein and Tilly? 

I must say something more of my Lieutenant, 

176 



31" FREDERICKSBURG CAMPAIGN 

Jno. B. Countiss, as he was such a good type of the 
Southern soldier. 

He was raised on Sand Mountain, Ala., where he 
now resides; a hale and hearty Octogenarian. On 
account of some youthful escapade he went to 
Memphis. The beginning of the war found him 
running on the Mississippi river as second mate of 
a St. Louis and New Orleans packet. He enlisted 
in my company in 1861, to be with his brothers. 
He soon became conspicuous for his bravery, and 
was promoted to the Lieutenancy and to the Cap- 
taincy, when I was promoted. January, 1863. The 
^'History of Doles-Cook Brigade" says of him. "He 
was a man who feared nothing on earth, and was 
always a leader when danger threatened. No bet- 
ter soldier served the Confederacy." He was a "Hard- 
shell Baptist," and of course very tenacious of his 
opinions. At one time in camp I was discussing 
some matter with him, on which we disagreed. We 
agreed to abide the decision of three men. They 
decided with me, when Countiss said, "Should the 
whole world decide against me, my opinion on this 
question would be unshaken." I said, "Countiss, 
your head is so hard, if a Yankee bullet ever hits 
it, it ivon't go in!" 

Sometime afterwards in the battle of the second 
Winchester, (1864) a bullet struck him in the fore- 
head. He was picked up by the litter-bearers, and 
as they bore him off, he recovered consciousness 
and asked, "What are you doing?" They replied, 
"You have been killed and we are going to bury 
you." He retorted, "Not by a damn-sight, I can't 
die till my time comes; take me to the house of — 
(mentioning the name of a family living near — ). 
"They promised to care for me if I was wounded." 

Our surgeon found that a glancing conical ball 
had struck his forehead, run under the skin, and 
come out at the back of his head. He was kindly 
nursed, and soon recovered. 

\A'hen Jackson's Corps was at Carlisle, Pa., just 

177 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

before the Gettysburg battle, July 1st, 1863, Capt. 
Gountiss was ordered to arrest about one hundred 
negroes who were runaways from Virginia, and 
bring them to headquarters. As he was returning 
he was met by an officer, with an order from Major 
General A. P. Hill, (who was Provost Marshal Gen- 
eral of the town) to turn the negroes over to him, 
to be taken to the Provost Guard. Gountiss refused, 
saying he had been ordered by his Brigadier Com- 
mander to take them to Brigade Headquarters. The 
officer and Gountiss had some hot words. Gountiss 
drew up his company and threatened him and his 

posse! , and they withdrew. 

The officer reported the matter to General Hill, 
who preferred charges, and ordered Gountiss' ar- 
rest. He was tried by a court-martial at once. 
Gashiered for insubordination, he was broken of 
his commission. He was entitled to leave the army, 
but the next day at Gettysburg took his rifle, wenjt 
th ine ranks and fought with conspicuous bravery 
through the two days' engagement, with his com- 
pany. 

After the battle, he was restored to his former 
rank, on the recommendation of every officer of 
the Brigade present. During the winter of 1864-5 
Gapt. Gountiss was ordered to recruit a Battalion 
in North Alabama, Gol. Salm-Salm, who was com- 
manding a Federal Regiment at Bridgepport, Ala- 
bama, (well known as Prince Salm-Salm of Austria, 
who afterwards figured prominently with Maximil- 
lian in Mexico) made a raid over into Lookout Val- 
ley. Having heard that a portion of the Third Con- 
federate Gavalry was camped at Gwin's Spring, he 
surprised them while they were asleep, and opened 
fire on their camp. Gountiss was stopping with the 
3rd Confederate Gavalry for the night. He and a 
few others seized rifles and returned the Are, but 
whilst so engaged they were surrounded and cap- 
tured. Col. Salm-Salm treated his prisoners as 
guerillas, and said he was going to have them shot. 

178 



FREDERICKSBURG CAMPAIGN 

He had been Lieutenant Colonel of the 8th New 
York Infantry Regiment, mentioned in connection 
with the battle of "Gross-Keys". 

When he was informed that Countiss was a Gap- 
tain in the 21st Georgia Regiment, Jackson's Corps, 
he sent for him, put him on parole, and invited him 
to his mess. 

But to return to my narrative. After reaching 
Fredericksburg, Ewell's Division went on to Port 
Royal, twenty miles below on the Rappahannock; 
as it was thought the Federals might cross there; 
but December 12th we received orders to march with 
all haste back to Fredericksburg. 

It was a very cold night. However; the dry cedar 
fences that were burning on each side of the road, 
gave us light and warmth as we marched. 

The 21st Georgia was leading the Brigade. Col. 
Robt. Hoke, of North Carolina, (uncle of Senator 
Hoke Smith, of Georgia) had just been assigned to 
take command of Trimble's Brigade, and was riding 
at the head of our Regiment. Capt. Hamilton com- 
manding the 21st, was riding with him. 

Hoke wanted to know about the Brigade ; said he : 
"I am a stranger to your Brigade. They have the 
reputation of being good fighters, but I wish to 
know whether they are impetuous, or stolid in 
action." 

Capt. Hamilton said, "We dash right into them, 
we either promote our commanders, or get them 
shot." 

"I hear Burnsides is crossing the river. If you are 
the right kind of stuff and will lead, we will make 
you Brig-Gen'l. Hoke tomorrow, or get vou killed". 
Col. Hoke said, "That's the kind of talk I like to 
hear." 

Arriving near Hamilton's Crossing, four miles be- 
low Fredericksburg, two hours before day. we were 
halted, stacked arms, and were informed that we 
formed a part of the 2nd line. At daylight the 
enemy ccmm^nced a furious shelling from their 

179 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

batteries across the river on Stafford heights, which 
awolve me "from a deep dream of peace." 

Just then I heard some one say, "Adjt. Verdery is 
Ivilled". I arose and went to where he was lying. 
It seems he was recUning on a pile of blankets, 
when a shell struck the limb of a large tree, 
richocheted straight up and dropped on him, with- 
out bursting. He was killed instantly. His death 
was greatly lamented. A handsome, brave, genial 
gentleman, there was no better regimental officer. 
He came to our Regiment as 1st Lt. of the Polk Co. 
Company (Capt. Borders), and was promoted x\dju- 
tant when Tom Hooper became Major. He was a 
native of Augusta, Georgia; and I think was buried 
there. 

The firing with small arms in our front became 
very heavy, and kept getting nearer. The Regiment 
was called to attention. We were standing in line, 
awaiting orders when I saw Rebs. pouring out of 
the woods. I ran forward, and recognized my old 
schoolmate. Col. Jack Hutchins, of the 19th. Georgia 
Regiment, Archer's (Tenn.) Brigade. He said, 
"Cooper, stop those men." We ordered them to 
form in the rear of our line. I asked, "Jack, what's 
the matter?" He answered. "We were in a rifle- 
pit: had just repulsed an attack from the front, when 
the oneray came up on my left flank, and were get- 
ting in my rear. I had to order my men to fall 
back. They have captured half of my Regiment. 
The woods there are full of them." Captain Hamil- 
ton said, "We will recapture your men, and take the 
Yanks, too, in a few minutes." We ran down our 
line, ordering the 21st to pass over Rebs and Yanks, 
and not to stop to capture or shoot until they got 
in the rifle-pit. 

Just then an officer came dashing down the line, 
crying out "Second line forward!" which we did 
with a rush; recapturing the men of the 19th Geor- 
gia, and of course their captors fell into our lines. 
We reached the rifle-pit which was at the foot of 

180 



FREDERICKSBURG CAMPAIGN 

the hill, (Marye's Heights), and fired into a Bri- 
gade that was advancing. 

After a few rounds, the Brigade fighting us fell 
back into a long, deep railroad cut. Col. Hoke or- 
dered a charge of the whole Brigade, which he led 
gallantly. We went into the railroad cut, capturing 
many prisoners. I emptied my self-cocking Colt's, 
(the fine weapon captured from the Colonel com- 
manding Manassas Junction) as we advanced. 

I ran up in front of my men and jumped into 
the cut; landing on a big Captain's head, ramming 
it down in the mud. The men piled in after us, and 
seeing that we were outnumbered, were inclined to 
be rough, which we stopped, as the Yank's wanted 
to surrender. 

A detail of three boys was made to show the 
prisoners where to go, and they were ordered to 
get out quick, to give us room, as another line was 
approaching. We drove back that third line, and 
silenced their battery, which was firing into Law- 
ton's Georgia Brigade; that had charged with us 
on our left, and had no protection. 

The enemy fell back to a sunken road in the river 
bottom, which was in rifle shot of the battery, and 
thus prevented us from getting it off the field. There 
was all along this sunken road, running up to Fred- 
ericksburg, a burdock or osage-orange fence, which 
we could not get through. A splendid protection it 
was, IV flic h saved Burnside's army I 

After dark we made the railroad our line. We 
were in the deep cut. The Federal wounded had 
not all been removed. One lay on the railroad track 
covered with a blanket. One of our men thinking 
he was dead, was fumbling over him, hoping to 
get a watch, money or other valuables, as was the 
wont of some soldiers after a battle. The man called 
out, "Boys, this Yank is alive; and he's a Maso7i."^ 
"Let's take him back to our Doctors." A litter was 
brought, and he was taken out, and his wound 
dressed. He said he was the Adjt. General of the 

2 181 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Brigade we fought when we first advanced, and 
that he was from Wheeling, West Virginia. 

He w^as shot through the lung. He wore a dia- 
mond ring, which he requested the surgeons to send 
to his sister, thinking he was going to die. He 
offered his watch to the soldiers who succored 
him, but they would not take it. I was glad to hear 
that he recovered sufficiently to be paroled, and sent 
through the lines. His Brigadier General (Jackson) 
had been killed, and was lying in the cut when we 
charged in. 

Stonewall Jackson, on learning that his first line 
at Hamilton's Grossing, was broken, galloped there 
in time to witness the charge just described. Major 
General D. H. Hill was with him, who, after th^^ 
battle, meeting his friend, Hoke, said, "How are you, 
General Hoke?" Hoke said, "General Hill, you are 
poking fun at me". Hill said, "No, I am not, Jack- 
son witnessed that charge!". Col. Hoke was pro- 
moted Brigadier General and assigned to command 
a brigade of North Carolina Regiments, in which 
w^as placed the 21st North Carolina. 

The Regiments that winter were all brigaded by 
States. Col. George Doles, of the 4th Georgia In- 
fantry, was made a Brigadier, and assigned to com- 
mand a brigade; made up of the 4th, 44th, 12th and 
21st Georgia Regiments, known as Dole's Brigade, 
until he was killed: July 2nd, 1864, at Cold Harbor, 
Virginia. Then Phil Cook, Colonel of the 4th, was 
promoted, and the brigade was known as the Doles- 
Cook brigade, until the surrender. 

Since then it has kept up its organization, and 
meets yearly in reunion; the only brigade that has a 
complete history published in book form. This his- 
tory is recognized by the State of Georgia as good 
authority in granting pensions to men of that com- 
mand. 

To return to the battle of Fredericksburg. Of 
course we were elated by the news of our armies' 
success all along the line, but General Thos. R. R. 

182 



FREDERICKSBURG CAMPAIGN 

Cobb's death cast a gloom over the triumph of vic- 
tory. There was no better soldier than this eminent 
lawyer and Christian gentleman, of Georgia. And 
there were no better fighters than "Cobb's Georgia 
Legion", on this planet! 

The next day, the Union Army was drawn up in 
line of battle in full view of us. We hoped they 
would renew the attack, but they declined; and that 
night recrossed the river. Thus ended another "on 
to Richmond". 

We were fighting around the little city where 
General Washington's mother lived, and died, and 
where she lies buried; over hallowed ground, the 
home of the father of his country in his youth; in 
the vicinity of his home in later life, (Mount 
Vernon). 

We were fighting for the self-same principles for 
which he fought: "The inalienable right of self- 
government." That which he foresaw, and feared; 
that which he, by timely councils, had endeavored 
to avert, had yet come to pass: A war between the 
Northern and Southern states. 

That night our men were lying on the slope of the 
deep cut, expecting an attack at any time. I was 
walking the railroad track behind my Company, 
trying to keep from freezing. I heard a groan, then 
another. I asked, "Who's that"? the man said, 
"It's Fred Oyler, Captain; it's mighty hard to stay 
here in the frozen mud without shoes, and no fire. 
My old shoes came off in the fight, and I am bare- 
footed." I said, "Why didn't you go back on the 
battlefield and pick up a pair, when I told the ser- 
geant to allow a certain number to go at a time?" 
He said, "I hate to." I said, "We can't have fires; 
the enemy will open on us with a hundred cannon, 
and interfere with our work of removing the 
wounded." 

I ordered him to go back and secure a pair of 
shoes or boots for his freezing feet, and an overcoat 
or anything he could find to protect himself from 

183 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

the cold. Very reluctantly the man obeyed the 
order. I had dismissed the occurrence, when I 
heard some one roll down into the cut, crying and 
groaning: "0 Lordy! Lordy! Lordy!" 

"Who's that?" I exclaimed. "Stop that noise!" 

"Captain," Oyler had materialized again. "/ told 
you, Captain, I didn't want to go back yonder!" 

"What happened to you, Oyler?" I asked. 

"I went over yonder" — shuddering — "and was 
trying to get me a pair of boots. And when I got 
one half-off a mans foot — the fellow came to life! 
— and grabbed me! Oh, he did, Captain! — He's 
pulled out nearly all of my hair!" 

The boys all round us were laughing. I answered 
my good private — he was a fine soldier, if he did 
have ghost-nerves — 

"Now, see here, Oyler: that's a queer story! You've 
got to show me. Come ahead!" and we went back 
to the spot he had evacuated so suddenly: — passing 
over the ground where Archer's men had driven a 
Union Brigade back into the railroad cut; and over 
which we, too, had fought. Our ambulances were 
slipping along very quietly, taking up the Yankee 
wounded. Hazardous work, this! The Yankee 
pickets were firing in the direction of every sound 
that indicated a Reb. Many dead lay upon the 
field. 

Dimly enough the moon was shining, through 
that sleety November drizzle. My man stood look- 
ing about him in the uncertain light for some time. 
At length he muttered, "There's the feller!" 

There he was! — wrapped in a blanket — sitting up 
in the moonlight — surrounded by dead men. He 
had overheard us, and exclaimed: 

"Wonder what dam-rascal that was, that tried to 
steal my new boots?" 

"Who is that?" I demanded. 

"Is that you, Captain Nisbet?" promptly. "This is 
Jim Beckham." 

184 



FREDERICKSBURG CAMPAIGN 

"What are you doing out here, Beckham? Every 
man was ordered to return to the cut as soon as 
he had supplied his needs." 

"Yes, sir; and now youv'e caught me, I'm going 
to tell you all about it. Captain. I came out here 
and got an overcoat and blanket, oil-cloth and a 
good pair of boots; and then as it was so muddy in 
the crowded cut, I thought I'd lie down here and 
sleep some — I was that tired and tuckered out. Ex- 
pected to run and jump in the cut, if the firing com- 
menced. Well, I was dreaming about Sally and the 
children, at home, — when I felt something tugging 
at my boot. I peeped over my blanket and saw a 
fellow stooping over, hard at work. Had my boot 
nearly off! I raised up and seized his hair. I'll tell 
you, he gave the most unearthly shriek I ever heard 
— and fell backward! — leaving his hair in my 
hands, as he ran." 

"Here he is!" I said, pointing to Oyler. "And 
now that you have disobeyed orders, you take 
Oyler and get him a pair of boots, overcoat, blanket 
and anvthing else he wants, and bring him back to 
the cut> 

Beckham said, as he jumped up, "Yes, Captain, 
I'll get him what he wants, and keep the spooks 
off'n him, too." Which he did. 

There were four Oyler brothers in my Company, 
"H", 21st Georgia; all good soldiers. They weren't 
afraid of live Yankees, but this one was sure afraid 
of spooks! 

Many good soldiers plundered after a battle to 
relieve their necessities; and there was many a 
"Jean Val Jean", who crept over many a Yankee 
Waterloo, undiscovered by any Victor Hugo pen! 

We went into winter quarters near by, at Guinea 
Station. In January, 1863, whilst in camp here, I 
was ordered to Richmond, by the War Department, 
to consult about my promotion, which had been rec- 
ommended and which was contingent upon my 
raisin sr a Regiment. Colonel John T. Mercer yet 

185 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

commanded the 21st Georgia, and there were other 
officers with that Regiment who were my seniors 
in rank, and all good soldiers. 

I had previously corresponded with my old 
friend, Major-General Howell Cobb, about recruit- 
ing a Regiment in Georgia for his Department of 
middle Florida, (seeing that he had authority to 
raise troops,) and received his recommendation to 
the War Department. With this and my other cre- 
dentials, I was ordered to Georgia to raise a regi- 
ment for General Cobb's Department. 



XVIII. 
PROMOTION. 

I went to Georgia and established my headquart- 
ers at Macon. I published my authority in all the 
daily papers of the State, inviting men wishing to 
raise Companies, or parts of Companies, — espe- 
cially ex-soldiers anxious to re-enter the service as 
commissioned officers — to correspond with me at 
Macon. Soon the letters came pouring in. I au- 
thorized many of these applicants — for the most 
part ex-soldiers — to recruit Companies and squads 
to be formed into Companies. 

I visited many counties in Georgia to settle ques- 
tions concerning commissions: as to who should 
command certain Companies, and who were to be 
Lieutenants — paying my own expenses, except for 
transportation. 

Many complaints came to me about the interfer- 
ence of the conscript officers with the men who had 
volunteered under my authority. Finding the 
♦rouble continued, I went to see General Howell 
Cobb, at Quincy, Florida, and explained the matter 
to him. He wired the War Department asking that 

186 



PROMOTION 

they would order the conscript officers to respect 
my authority. 

However, the necessity of adjusting this matter, 
fmally took me to Richmond. Moreover I had be- 
come convinced that it was necessary to appoint the 
commissioned officers. The former method of elect- 
ing officers could not be relied on at this stage pf 
the struggle (1863). 

To have an efficient regiment, it was necessary 
that the commissioned officers should be veterans, 
and otherwise qualified. The vicious system of elec- 
tion of officers struck at the very root of that stern 
discipline, without which new recruits cannot be 
converted into efficient soldiers. 

Arrived at Richmond, I conferred with my Uncle 
Judge Eugenius A. Nisbet, M. C, from the Macon, 
Georgia, District. Together we called to see Judge 
J. A. Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War. He 
consented to issue an order to the conscript officers 
of Georgia to respect my authority and to aid me 
in every way possible: however, the Secretary 
would not consent that I should make the appoint- 
ments of the commissioned officers, to be confirmed 
by the War Department : because said he, "the law 
requires that they shall be elected by the men." 

Judge Eugenius Nisbet had served in the United 
States Congress, with President Davis. They were 
personal friends. Judge Nisbet said, "I will take 
you tomorrow morning to see President Davis. We 
will lay this matter before him." We called the 
next day by appointment. 

I told Mr. Davis I wished to select soldiers, 
or ex-soldiers, for commissioned officers of my 
regiment, and if any of them were in the 
army, to have them tietailed for recruiting 
service. Mr. Davis asked me what service I had 
seen. I answered, "I have commanded a company 
in the 21st Georgia Regiment, and frequently that 
regiment, Trimble's Brigade, Ewell's Division, Jack- 
son's Corps ; I have participated in every march and 

187 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

engagement, after we joined Jackson in the Valley, 
in the spring of 1862." Mr. Davis was interested. 
He said, "You certainly have seen hard service, and 
had much military experience." "But," said he, 
"you are very young for such a high command." 

Turning to my uncle, he said, "Judge Nisbet, do 
you think the young man can raise a Regiment in 
Georgia, at this time? Governor Brown and othera 
there are fighting the conscription. We are not 
getting many men from Georgia now. I have two 
men, Captains Jno. L. Hardee and Evans, who have 
been trying to raise Regiments in Georgia for some 
time, and so far, have failed." My uncle said, "Gap- 
tain Nisbet has a good war record, energy, and fam- 
ily influence; if he can get the order he wants, I 
believe he will soon raise the Regiment." 

The President then turned to his private secre- 
tary, and told him to write a note to Mr. Seddons, 
Secretary of War, asking him to give me such 
authority as I wished. Having obtained the author- 
ity to appoint my officers, I forthwith took an order 
for the detail of'Capt. Algernon S. Hamilton, Com- 
pany B, 21st Georgia Regiment, to assist me in re- 
cruiting the Regiment. 

I wTnt to Guinea Station, where the 21st was still 
in winter quarters, and delivered the order. Hamil- 
ton was happy. No more weary marches on foot — 
and soon to see his good wife, and home! 

We bade the old 21st good-bye. It was sad to part 
from, the noble fellows, with whom we had stood 
shoulder to shoulder for so long, and under such 
tremendous ordeals. We went up to Richmond, 
where we tried to get our old companies transferred 
to go with us, as a nucleus of the new Regiment. 

In this we failed ; as Cok Mercer had forestalled us 
with a communication forwarded to the War De- 
partment through the regular channels, saying his 
Regiment, (the 21st Georgia,) had then only nine 
companies, and to take two more out, would reduce 
it to a battalion; so all we could do was to go to. 

188 



PROMOTION 

Georgia, and get busy recruiting the ten companies. 

I needed the assistance of another efficient man, as 
Major of the Regiment. I found many who ought 
to have been at the front, unwilling to enter active 
service. I offered the above-mentioned commission 
to a handsome, bright young fellow, well versed 
in military affairs. He was on post-duty. He had 
entered the army early in '61 : with the enthusiasm 
of ultra Southern opinions. 

Although his regiment was not on the firing line 
at Manassas, it was near enough for this young 
man to hear the thunder of the guns and see some- 
thing of the deadly effects of artillery. It sufficed! 
He promptly resigned his commission; went to 
Richm.ond, and obtained a bomb-proof position. 
Vainly, did I urge him to go in with us ; — accept the 
promotion, and help to defend old Georgia: leaving 
the old men to attend to all affairs in the rear. He 
said he didn't think that at that time, a Regiment 
could be raised in Georgia. I assured him that al- 
ready I had the evidence that it could. Appealing 
to his patriotism, pride, ambition, I said: "After 
the war, you, doubtless, will seek political advance- 
ment: when the fighting-men will be preferred." 
He answered: "Cooper Nisbet, you've been in more 
fights than any man I know. If you go into an- 
other, you're a dam-fool I" Said I: "Maybe Hamil- 
ton and myself will be knocked out; we can't ex- 
pect to escape always; and then you would com- 
mand the Regiment. Perhaps you may be made a 
Brigadier." His answer was: "I had rather be a 
live" commissary Captain than a dead Colonel." 

The shirk hath said in his heart, "There is no 
hero." If the man could have rhymed, he would 
have written: 

"If war should come tonight I have no fear, 
My form would occupy a hero's bier; 
I'd sooner lie at home — safe in my bed; 
Than on a battlefield a hero dead. 

189 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

For me would be no stricken widow's sob, 
I'd stay at home, and get some fellow's job, 
And gobble all the coin there was in sight 
If war should come tonight 

If war should come tonight, my sweetheart dear, 
Would not be at the train to shed a tear, 
I'd let another fellow go to the front. 
And if, perchance, he lost an arm or leg, 
/ would not be the one that had to beg, 
But safe pt home, I'd yell with all my might, 
If war should some tonight," 

After the conflict the man of whom I write was 
defeated for high office by a "fighting soldier" be- 
cause he was a fighter! Howbeit, time and money 
has enabled more than one of these sham soldiers 
to build up political affiliations and come to the 
front, for the first time! The generations that have 
come on the stage since the volcanic period of Civil 
War, pay small heed to the record of the individual 
man, though their reverence for the Lost Cause is 
inviolate. 

There be those who regard, not the man who 
dared danger in the past, but the fellow who swag- 
gers — bold in his self-sufficiency — before their eyes, 
as the hero! 

Many of these non-combatants have been quick 
to recognize this fact; and now they may be seen 
at the General Reunions; around the hotel parlors 
and at all great functions: clad in costly Confed- 
erate Gray, with General's stars and wreaths on 
their coat-collars: hobnobbing and carrying on 
War conversations in a General way, but not spe- 
cifically, with sentimental women. To some men 
the Civil War, with all its horrors, was a boon. The 
South's calamity was their opportunity. However, 
in spite of these non-combatant soldiers, and specu- 
lating citizens (with substitutes in the ranks) who 
would have "freely sacrificed every able-bodied rel- 

190 



PROMOTION 

ative they had in the world rather than see the 
Southern cause fail." In spite of these, and other 
discouragements, our ranks were soon filled. 

The rendezvous of the Companies was at "Tatnall 
Square," now known as "Hugenin Circle", Macon, 
Georgia: the present site of "Mercer University", 
the great Georgia Baptist Institute. 

Lt. Col. A. S. Hamilton assisted men actively in 
organizing the Regiment. One of my companies, 
Capt. Redd's, of Columbus, was taken from me by 
the War Department, and given to Col. Evans to 
complete his regiment that was being organized. 

Not long after I had published my authority to 
raise a regiment, I received a letter from Capt. John 
Redd, of Columbus, Georgia, saying he had been 
trying to raise a company under authority from 
Evans, but he had failed. Mainly on account of the 
interference of the conscript officers, and that he 
had notified Evans of the facts; asking for author- 
ity to raise a company for my Regiment. He added 
that he preferred to go in with me, as we were 
related and old College chums. 

I went over to Columbus, gave him the authority 
and our numerous relatives and friends there took 
up the matter with him, and soon the ranks of his 
company were full, and ready for service. Then 
Col. Evans, finding he needed another Company to 
organize his Regiment, went on to Richmond and 
got an order for Redd's Company to report to him. 
Captain Redd had to obey the order. 

Col. Evans' Regiment, the 64th Georgia, was 
mustered in and sent to Virginia, where it made a 
good record. It occupied the saUent on the Peters- 
burg line, which was blown up by Grant with four 
or five hundred barrels of powder. Here, Captain 
John Redd was killed: either by the explosion, or 
in the fighting that followed. This point on the line 
was afterward known as the Crater; and was de- 
fended to the last. 

Captain John Redd was a loveable, great-hearted 

191 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

young man. No nobler — no braver man — laid 
down his life for the Southern cause. 

The divergence of Redd's Company explains why 
the 26th Georgia Battalion had only three Com- 
panies. Only thirteen Companies reported at Tat- 
nall Square. The army regulations required ten 
Companies to form a Regiment. This number was 
selected, and my Regiment organized. I carried the 
muster-roll to Richmond. The Regiment was 
accepted as organized, and numbered the 66th 
Georgia Infantry. 

The Roster of the Field and StafT is as follows : 

Colonel James Cooper Nisbet, Cloverdale, Dade 
County, Ga. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Algernon Sydney Hamilton, 
Rome, Ga. 

Major Newton Hull, Camden County, Ga. — killed 
Benacer's Bridge,S. C, 1865. 

Adjutant Lieutenant Wm. Lewis Le Conte, Macon, 
Ga. 

Commissary Department Captain John Cameron, 
Rome, Ga. 

Quartermaster's Department Captain C. C. Ham- 
mock,Atlanta, Ga, 

Surgeon — Dr. J. S. McCain, Mississippi. 

Assistant Surgeon — Dr. Bowen, Jones County, Ga. 

The Companies composing the 66th Ga. were as 
follows : 
Company "A" — 

Briggs Moultrie Napier, Captain, Macon, Ga. 

Jas. Comer, 1st Lieutenant, Macon, Ga. 

E. H. Hull, 2nd Lieutenant, Camden Co., Ga. 

J. H. Rogers, 8rd Lieutenant, Savannah, Ga. — 
Killed in the battle of Atlanta. 
Company "B" — 

C. M. Jordan, Captain, Troup County, Ga. — Killed 
at Resacca. 

J. A. Wright, let Lieutenant, Decatur, Ga. 

A. H. C. Walker, 2nd Lieutenant,^ Decatur, Ga. 

192 



PROMOTION 

Jas. W Jolly, Jr., 2nd Lieutenant, Bartow County, 
Ga 

Gomparty "G"— 

Henry F. Parl^, Gaptain, Govington, Ga. — Killed 

at Peachtree Greek, July 20th, 1864. 
A. J. Summers, 1st Lieutenant, Newton Gounty, 

Ga. 
J. T. Terrell, 2nd Lieutenant — Killed at Jonesboro, 

August 31st, 1864. 
J. N. Smythe, 3rd Lieutenant, Govington, Ga. 
Gompany "D" — • 

Chas. J. Williamson, Gaptain, Macon, Ga. 

Vs\ C. Massey, 1st Lieutenant, Macon, Ga. 

W. R. j^oss, 2nd Lieutenant, Macon, Ga. — Killed 

at Jonesboro, July 22nd. 
Nathan G. Monroe, Jr., 3rd Lieutenant, Macon, 

Ga. 
Chas. Holmes, Jr, 2nd Lieutenant, Macon, Ga. 
Gompany "E"— 

Moses L. Brown, Captain, Decatur, Ga. 
Osborne M. Stone, 1st Lieutenant, Augusta, Ga. 
Jno. F. Smith, 2nd Lieutenant, Decatur, Ga. 
James F. Brown, Jr., 2nd Lieutenant, Decatur, Ga. 
Gompany "F" — 
Alex H. Reid, Gaptain, Etonton, Ga. 
A, H. Coates, 1st Lieutenant, Etonton, Ga. 
I. Flournoy Adams, 2nd Lieutenant, Etonton, Ga. 
J. 0. Rosser, 3rd Lieutenant, Etonton, Ga. 
Gompany "G"— 
G. A. Hall, Gaptain, Greensboro, Ga. — Resigned; 

111 health. 
W. Morgan Weaver, 1st Lieutenant, Greensboro, 

Ga.— Promoted Gaptain. 
Isaac W. Reese, 2nd Lieutenant, Madison, Ga 
Thos. J. P. Atkinson, Jr., 2nd Lieutenant, Madi- 
son, Ga. • 
Gompany "H" — 
G. D. Belisle, Gaptain, Decatur, Ga. 
J. M. Rasberry, 1st Lieutenant, Decatur, Ga 

193 ] 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

J. H. Mead, 2nd Lieutenant, Atlanta, Ga. — Pro- 
moted. 

W. H. Quillian, 2nd Lieutenant, Decatur, Ga. 

Daniel O'Rear, 3rd Lieutenant, Decatur, Ga. 
Company "I" — 

Jas. Thornton, Captain, Augusta, Ga. 

A. C. Patman, 1st Lieutenant, Athens, Ga. 

J. H, McDade, 2nd Lieutenant, Athens, Ga. 

T. J. Kernagan, 3rd Lieutenant, Augusta, Ga. 
Company "K" — • 

T. L. Langston, Captain, Atlanta, Ga. 

Jas. W. Hcrndon, 1st Lieutenant, Atlanta, Ga. 

Benj. F. Hammock, 2nd Lieutenant, Atlanta, Ga. 

Chas. W. Gray, 3rd Lieutenant, Graysville, Ga. 

S, J. Davis, 3rd Lieutenant, Atlanta, Ga. 

W. T. Williams, Cadet. 

As I had recruited the three extra companies I 
had in camp, or rather as they had been raised? 
under my orders, I was permitted to organize them 
into a Battalion of Infantry. It was so recorded 
at Richmond, when I delivered the Muster-Rolls of 
the Companies. Said Battalion was numbered 26th 
Battalion Georgia Infantry. It was made a part of 
my command. My brother, Jno. W. Nisbet, was 
promoted Major of the Battalion; and duly com- 
missioned. He was serving as private in an old 
organized City Company called the "Floyd Rifles" 
(from Macon, Ga.)) in the 2nd Georgia Battalion 
Infantry, Army N. Virginia. He entered the service 
April, 1861. 

The following is the Roster of Field and StafY 
Officers of the 26th Georgia Battalion Infantry: 
FIELD AND STAFF. 
John W. Nisbet, Major, Dade County, Ga. 
Charles Du Bignon, Adjutant, Milledgeville, Ga. 
Dr. Oakman, Surgeon, Augusta, Ga. 
Dr. Julian Ravenel, Jr., Assistant Surgeon, 
•Charleston, S. C. 

This 26th Georgia Battalion was in some respects 
a very unique organization, made so by its com- 

194 



PROMOTION 

mander, Major Jno. W. Nisbet. He was my only 
brother. We were near the same age, and had 
never been separated for any length of time, until 
the breaking out of the war. We were in business 
together, after we left college, and in April, 1861, 
"drew straws" to decide which one should go into 
the service first. He drew the long one, and I re- 
mained a while to attend to our large stock farm 
and other interests. My desire to be with him, and 
his wish to be near me, brought about his promo- 
tion. 

He wanted to fight the common enemy, but was 
quite satisfied with his position of private; its duties 
and absence from care and responsibilities, — in a 
company composed of his boyhood friends, and 
relatives. 

As an officer, he discharged his duties on the 
firing line patriotically, and fearlessly; and his men 
would follow him as they said to the "jumping off 
place". In camp he let them do pretty much as- 
they pleased, and they idolized him. However, he 
felt' but little interest in the "pomp and circum- 
stance" of glorious war. He did not "seek the bub- 
ble reputation at the cannon's mouth," but he didn't 
mind charging a battery if ordered ; unless the order 
interfered "with his perusal of some metaphysical 
work. 

While I was still in Richmond, pursuant to re- 
ceiving my new commission, the command had 
been ordered to proceed to the mouth of the Appa- 
lachicola river. Colonel Hamilton took the 66th 
down the rivers from Fort Gaines, Georgia, and 
assumed command of Fort Cobb, 

I returned from Richmond and reported to Gen- 
eral Howell Cobb at Quincy, Florida. Colonel Ham- 
ilton had written me that the men were nearly all 
suffering from malaria on account of the swamp 
around the fort, and the season of the year, and 
asked that I would apply for active service in the 
field; or that the troops might be sent to one of the 

195 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

principal armies. In going over to see General 
Cobb, at Qiiincey, about this matter, I left the steam- 
boat at Chattahoochee Landing, where I was agree- 
ably surprised to meet my old friends from the Vir- 
ginia x\rmy, the 1st Georgia Regulars; who had 
been sent there to rest and recruit. 

I knew personally most of the ofTicers of that gal- 
lant regiment. Colquitt's brigade had also been sent 
to Florida, from Virginia; therefore, it was found 
that we could be spared to re-enforce Bragg. 

The enemy was threatening to invade Florida, 
which they soon did, — with negro soldiers. They 
were met iDy these two commands, and the Florida 
troops, under General Finnegan, and routed with 
great slaughter, in the battle of "Olustee", "or Ocean 
Pond". 

General Finnegan's young son was on his staff; 
the boy, Irishman-like, plunged into the thick of 
the fray, his anxious father equally exposed, said 
to him, "Go to the rear Finnegan, me B'ye, go to, 
the rear! me B'ye! "Ye know ye are ye mither's 
darlin'." 

At Quincey, I received orders through General 
Cobb, to report with my command to Lieutenant 
General Hardee at Chattanooga, as quickly as possi- 
ble. I sent Hamilton orders to take first boat for 
Fort Gaines, Georgia, on the Chattahoochee, and I 
went to Macon via Albany to get a special train to 
take us through to Atlanta. It was in September, 
and the boat was delayed by low water. At Macon 
I had much trouble in getting a train, which was 
finally sent down, and I met the regiment in Macon. 

We were trying to re-enforce Bragg before the 
battle of Chickamauga: but when we reached 
Atlanta, September 20th, (Sunday) the last day's 
fight was about ended, and we were stopped there 
to guard prisoners, arriving in large numbers. 

We went into camp out on Whitehall street, now 
West End, and remained there drilling, until Octo- 
ber 21st; when I received orders to report with my 

196 



PROMOTION 

Regiment and Battalion to General Hardee com- 
manding Corps Bragg's Army. We left the rail- 
road train at Ghickamauga station, W. & A. Rail- 
road, where we were met by an aid de camp and 
courier, who escorted us to Hardee's headquarters 
on Missionary Ridge. Colonel Hamilton and my- 
self were introduced to General Hardee by Major 
Newton Hull, of the 66th Georgia Regiment, who 
was General Hardee's nephew. 

The old General was very genial, courtly, and 
kind. He assigned us to Wilson's Georgia Brigade, 
Walker's Division; which was camped at the foot 
of Lookout Mountain; a place now known as St. 
Elmo. 

General Hardee invited his nephew, (Major 
Hull), to dine with him Sunday, and said he would 
inspect my command Sunday afternoon. On the 
march that night, across Chattanooga Valley, we 
passed a portion of Bragg's Army investing Chat- 
tanooga. They looked strange to us, (coming from 
Lee's Army), dressed in all sorts of colors, with no 
shelters except the crudest kind. After being there 
six weeks, they still lacked comforts which disci- 
plined soldiers would provide for themselves in a 
very short time. 

We passed Cheatham's Division of Middle Ten- 
nesseans, a splendid body of troops, (in spite of all), 
as good natural material for soldiers as the world 
ever saw. 

Colonel Hamilton, himself a thorough soldier and 
disciplinarian, said "My God, Colonel Nisbet, is this 
an army, or a mob?" "A collection of untrained 
men is neither more nor less than a mob, in which 
individual courage goes for nothing. In move- 
ment it is ignorant, and incapable of direction, 
every obstacle creates confusion, liable to be con- 
verted into panic by opposition." But in this in- 
stance, the want of discipline was largely atoned 
for by the strong individuality of the Units of the 
Column. 'Twas after supper time, and these old 

14 197 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

veterans of Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro and 
Chickamauga, came out to the road ig see the re- 
enforcements pass. My Regiment and Batitalion 
being new and all the companies with an average 
of one hundred men, numbered as a whole about 
fifteen hundred. "What brigade is that?" was fre- 
fuently asked. Some of my men not being familiar 
with military nomenclature, answered "the 66th." 
"Ha! Ha! the old 66th is a whopper. Bet she runs 
first fire!" Afterwards when we passed, I could 
hear them say, "There goes that bloody 66th 
brigade!" 

I reported to the commanding officer, Wilson's 
Brigade, Colonel James Boynton, of the 30th Geor- 
gia. General Claude Wilson had died after Chick- 
amauga, and Colonels Young and Mangham of the 
29th and 30th Infantry, respectively, were absent on 
account of wounds. We were assigned to our 
proper place and pitched our tents (brought from 
Florida) on a hill overlooking Tennessee river. I 
found that I was the ranking officer of the brigade, 
and requested Major Hull to call General Hardee's 
attention to that fact, when he dined with his uncle 
the next day. 

Sunday afternoon General Hardee inspected the 
Regiment and Battalion. We presented a very cred- 
itable appearance, being well uniformed and 
equipped. I met him and his staff at the head of 
my regiment and we rode down the line, the men 
having been brought to "present arms" by Colonel 
Hamilton. The General said he was very much 
pleased with the military appearance of the Regi- 
ment and Battalion, and observed: "My nephew. 
Major Hull, tells me, that you are the ranking offi- 
cer of the brigade present for duty. I will put you 
in command, if you desire it?" I replied: "Gen- 
eral, I wish to assume any responsibility to which 
my rank entitles me." He answered: "This is the 
largest brigade in my corps, and you look very 
young for such a command; what service have you 

198 



PROMOTION 

seen?" I said: "I have been with Stonewall Jack- 
son for nearly two years, commanding a company, 
and sometimes my Hegiment. I am qualified." 
"That's the way for a soldier to feel," said the old 
General. He issued the order for me to relieve Lieu- 
tenant Colonel James Boynton and assume the com- 
mand of the Brigade. Lieutenant Colonel Hamil- 
ton took command of the 66th Georgia Regiment. 

My pickets were posted along Chattanooga Creek, 
with orders not to Are, unless the enemy who were 
in plain view on the other side, should attempt to 
cross. We were facing Garlin's Brigade, Palmer's 
Division; who had similar instructions, I suppose, 
as everything was so peaceful down there. In fact 
the conditions were so amicable, the opposing men 
swapped tobacco for coffee, on the sly. 'Twas the 
calm that precedes the storm. 

In the United States Arsenal at Chattahoochee 
Landing in Florida, I had found a number of old- 
style Sibley tents, which had been seized by the 
authorities before Florida seceded: an act of 
treason. 

I obtained the tents by requisition, and loaded 
them on the boats as my Regiment passed up the 
Chattahoochee. The old "Sibley's" having never 
been used, were in good shape. When we got them 
put up, each company's in regulation order, our 
camp looked pretentious; and was the envy of the 
old troops. Except the General's headquarters, 
Bragg's whole army boasted no tents but our "In- 
dian Wigwams". We found that Bragg's men had 
no confidence in him as a leader; he had failed to 
reap the fruits of their victories. He inspired no 
enthusiasm when he passed; as did Lee and Jack- 
son when they rode by their men. 

Most all of the officers of the Brigade called to 
make our acquaintance, and bid us welcome. That 
brigade had borne a very prominent part in the 
recent battle of Chickamauga, on Bragg's right, un- 
der Major General Walker's, near the Reed's Bridge 

199 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

road. On one of the days (19th) they had captured 
and recaptured two batteries after desperate fight- 
ing; losing heavily, including two Colonels, who 
were badly wounded. They were finally forced by 
overwhelming numbers, to fall back and leave their 
trophies, because they were not sustained by timely 
reinforcements. In truth theirs was a gallant part! 
Borne on the 18th, 19th and 20th of September. 
Their Brigadier General, Claude Wilson, had re- 
cently died of sickness contracted by the exposures 
of the campaign. He was from Savannah; had 
been Colonel of the 25th Georgia Regiment, and 
had the reputation of being a brave, efficient officer. 

Colonel Tom Mangham (Griffin) of the 30th 
Georgia Regiment, was badly wounded in the hip 
and Colonel Young (Thomasville) of the 29th Geor- 
gia, received a severe wound through the shoulder; 
both were at their homes and neither were ever 
again fit for military duty. I met them in Atlanta 
frequently after the war; but they both soon died 
from the effects of their wounds. So, when I ar- 
rived, there was no Colonel present for duty, and 
the brigade was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel 
Boynton of the 30th Georgia Regiment. He soon 
after was promoted Colonel of his Regiment on 
the resignation of Colonel Mangham. 

Boynton was a lawyer and a good one; he had a 
judicial mind. A man of peace, he was in the army 
entirely from a sense of duty. The glory of the con- 
test had no charms for him. After the war he was 
given many honorable positions. "President of the 
Senate," "Governor of Georgia," and Judge of his 
(Griffin) circuit, until his death; which was greatly 
lamented by all. It may be truly said of him that he 
died leaving many friends, but not one enemy. 

Wilson's Georgia Brigade was composed of the 
following commands: 29th, 30th, 25th, and 66th 
Georgia Regiments Infantry, Ferguson's Battery, 
commanded by Lieut. Beauregard, the 26th Georgia 
Battalion, and the 1st Battalion Georgia Sharpshoot- 

200 



CHICKAMAUGA 

ters. This latter was commanded by Major 
Arthur Shoaf, a West Pointer of the old navy. 
The other officers of that battalion were edu- 
cated military men from the Georgia Mili- 
tary Institute or Savannah Volunteer Com- 
panies, and the drill and discipline of their 
companies was that of regulars ; their efTiciency was 
not excelled by any organization of the army. Major 
Arthur Shoaf was well qualified to command a 
Brigade and most any of his ofTicers, a Regiment. 



XIX. 

CHICKAMAUGA. 

The battle of Chickamauga has been com- 
memorated by the Government in the con- 
version of this Aceldama into a military 
park and post; extensive and beautiful. Iron 
tablets and markers describe the position of 
the contending armies during the three days' 
conflict. These inscriptions, established under 
the able supervision of the Chickamauga Battlefield 
Commission, with General H. V. Boynton as chief, 
give a fair history of the battle from beginning to 
end. Errors were made at first, but these have been 
corrected. 

Living in the immediate vicinity, for forty-six 
years, I have constantly compared the evidence en- 
trusted to the keeping of these bristling bronzes and 
ghostly marbles. I have studied the reports and 
reminiscences of officers and privates who were en- 
gaged in the fight. 

When my command was ordered to join Bragg, 
I, on reaching the field of Chickamauga, was hard 
on the heels of the dead, and surrounded by the 
living participants in that bloody struggle. Then 
and there, I received a tremendous impression of the 

201 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

everlasting truths relating to the conduct of this 
battle — the culmination of American valor. Be- 
ginning with the facts recited to me on the field — as 
we walked about in the bloody mud of the conflict 
— by men who had borne the brunt of the three 
day's slaughter, and ending with the Reports of 
Federal Generals, I have some testimony to add 
to the story of Ghickamauga which is not unauthor- 
itative. 

The contest was, in the main, between Southern 
men and men of the Middle West. 

The numbers engaged on either side were nearly 
equal ; or, in round numbers, about sixty thousand 
each, of all arms. 

Bragg's conduct of the campaign is here reviewed 
in justification of the gallant soldiers of the Army of 
Tennessee. Even-handed Justice demands severer 
strictures on Bragg at Ghickamauga than I am able 
to pen. 

BOYNTON'S REPORT ON BATTLE OF 
GHIGKAMAUGA. 

General tl. V. Boynton (Union), in his Report, 
says : "Rosecrans moved across the Tennessee River 
at Gaperton's ferry and Bridgeport, Alabama; and 
by the 8th of September, Thomas had moved on 
Trenton, Georgia, and seized Steven's Gap on Look- 
out Mountain, overlooking McLemore's Gove, 
Walker County, Georgia. 

McGook had advanced to Winston's Gap, cross- 
ing Lookout valley to Valley Head, Alabama; and 
from thence on to Alpine, Alabama, Grittendon had 
crossed to Wahatchie, N. & G. Railroad, connecting 
with Thomas' left, Bragg, finding he was flanked, 
and his communications to the South threatened, 
evacuated Chattanooga on the 9th of September, 
his army moving out to LaFayette and holding the 
gaps of Pigeon Mountain, overlooking McLemore's 
Gove. 

Gritte'ftde'h immediately occupied Chattanooga oh 

202 



CHICKAMAUGA 

the 9th. General Rosecrans directed his march 
against LaFayette and Rome, Georgia, his main 
body was opposite the passes of Pigeon Mountain 
on the 14th of September, where they had some 
skirmishing, but his army at the time was scattered 
from Lee and Gordon's Mill, where Crittenden's 
Corps had moved out to, from Chattanooga; under 
orders to pursue Bragg via Ringgold, and cut off 
his retreat to Alpine, Alabama, (forty miles) where 
McCook's Corps had advanced. 

When McCook's Cavalry, scouting towards La- 
Fayette, reached Summerville, Georgia, they learned 
that Bragg was not retreating as Rosecrans sup- 
posed, but was concentrating at LaFayette and that 
Longstreet's Corps had reached Atlanta. 

McGook reported this information to Rosecrans 
on the 13th of September, and was ordered to join 
Thomas at once. Leaving two Brigades to hold the 
Dougherty Gap on Lookout Mountain, McCook's 
Corps, after some delay on account of taking the 
wrong route, closed up with Thomas on the 17tb, 
and Thomas moved down the Chickamauga towards 
the Lee and Gordon Mill. 

On the next day, 18th of September, 1863, skirm- 
ishing commenced between Forrest's Confederate 
Cavalry and Minty and Wilder's Federal Covalry at 
Leet's Spring. The latter were driven back and the 
Confederates advanced; and after some fighting, 
crossed the Chickamauga Creek at Jay's Mill, and 
the Reed and Alexander bridges and fords. 

They found Crittenden's Corps, the left of Rose- 
cran's army-line, facing east along the Chattanooga 
and LaFayette road; also the Corps of McCook and 
Thomas, "(20th and 21st Corps). Minty's Cavalry 
formed on the left of Crittenden and Wilder's Cav- 
alry on the right of Sheridan's Corps. 

The Confederates, after crossing the creek, formed 
facing th« Union line; and on the morning of the 
19th, advanced, and there was fierce fighting. Rose- 
crans put every available man into the fight, except 

203 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Post's and Lytle's Brigades; but his line was forced 
back in places. 

At night the Union Army had the best position, 
being on higher ground and the Confederates com- 
pelled to attack. The next morning the Union line 
throughout was covered by rough barricades of rail, 
logs, stones, rocks and stumps. These barricades 
around the Kelley field were of considerable 
strength. 

About 9:30 a. m., 20th, Bragg's right charged the 
Union left and were repulsed and a second charge 
under Breckenridge was also driven back. 

While VanDeveer was driving back, Stovall's 
Adam's and Helm's assaults, and clearing the Union 
left, Longstreet, with his column of three divisions, 
was moving from the forests east of Brotherton's, 
through the Union center, and dire calamity there 
seemed unavoidable. 

Negley's Division, which held the line west of the 
Brotherton field, had been replaced by Wood's Di- 
vision. At this moment Longstreet's attack was 
delivered. Bushrod Johnson's Division burst 
through the opening left by Wood, and Buel's Bri- 
gade was caught in the flank and broken up. 

Bosecrans rushed to the Glenn House, and has- 
tened Sheridan's Division up, but the disaster could 
not be repaired. Longstreet then bore down against 
Branann and forced him to back off the field. In 
the meantime Wood, seeing Hood's force moving 
north in the Dyer field, advanced to meet him. 

Law's Brigade was forced back, and retired except 
the 15th Alabama under Colonel W. C. Gates, which 
joined Kershaw's advance. This check enabled 
Brannan to form in rear of Harker on Snodgrass 
Hill. Hooker having been pushed back by Ker- 
shaw's Division, Snodgrass Hill became the Union 
right. 

Gn the right of Harker was Stanley's Brigade, and 
then Brannan's. All to the right of Brannan on the 
original line had been sivept off the field. Davis' 

204 



CHICKAMAUGA 

and Sheridan's Divisions, which came up, were 
swept away by Hindman's and Bushrod Johnson's 
Divisions. General Lytle was killed. This right 
composed of five Brigades continued their flight to 
McFarland's Gap. General Rosecrans, Crittenden 
and McGook were cut off by this break in the cen- 
ter. They were borne off the field in the confused 
retreat of the right. Rosecrans put Thomas in com- 
mand and continued on to Chattanooga. 

While Hood's Divisions were sweeping northward 
towards Snodgrass Hill, Bushrod Johnson's Division 
turned to the right towards the ridge, capturing 
fifteen (15) guns. Then Longstreet's line, as re- 
formed to assault Snodgrass Hill, was Johnson's Di- 
vision on the left at the Vidatoe House and Hind- 
man's Division on his right. Kershaw's Division 
formed the right of the assaulting lines. 

On the Union left Forrest had moved forward and 
captured the Hospital at Cloud's Spring, but was 
forced away when Granger came up. Cleburne and 
Stewart had fought bitterly, but unsuccessfully, un- 
til one o'clock. Gist had assaulted our left at noon, 
when Helm had been killed, and his attack repulsed, 
Colonel Peyton Colquitt, 46th Georgia, had been 
killed. Liddell's Division had advanced and his 
leading Brigade was also driven back. The fighting 
then ceased along the Kelley field. The eight Divi- 
sions, four on a side, facing each other there, but 
quiet. The Confederate reserves listening to Long- 
street's repeated assaults of Snodgrass Hill. At three 
o'clock Bushrod Johnson's Division, of Longstreet's 
left wing, had advanced and was crossing the crest 
which Negley had vacated on the right. Then help 
came, Granger's, McCook's, Stedman's and Morgan's 
Divisions arrived; also Vandeveer's Brigade. 

A general advance of Bragg's right had been 
ordered (three o'clock p. m.). H did not begin until 
nearly sundown. Thomas' retreat was going on, and 
Palmer's and Reynolds' divisions, the last on the 
line, bore the brunt of this attack. Left by Thomas 

205 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

to bring up his rear, they were thrown into con- 
fusion, fired upon from the front and flank." 
Commeyits on General Boynton's Report. 

Chattanooga had been occupied by Rosecrans' 
Army ten days (from the 8th to 18th of September) 
and was the base of the Federal supplies, and opera- 
tions. The face of the Union Army, when they 
moved out in pursuit of Bragg, were towards Atlan- 
ta. The battle induced Rosecrans to about face, and 
go in the opposite direction, yet our good old friend, 
General Boynton has always contended that the 
retreat to Chattanooga was really an advance, and 
has published a book to prove it. As to this claim, 
General Jno. B. Gordon says "From like premises 
the Confederates might claim a victory for Lee at 
Gettysburg, and that his movement to the rear was 
an advance. General Pope might, in like manner, 
claim that his route at second Manassas was a vic- 
tory, and his retreat to Washington an advance that 
saved the Capitol. 

To my mind such victories are similar to that 
achieved by the doctor, who was asked: "Well, 
Doctor, how is the mother and the new baby?" 
"They are both dead," replied the doctor, "but I have 
saved the old man." 

What are the facts: Bragg assailed Rosecrans in 
his chosen stronghold; drove him from the entire 
field, and held it in unchallenged possession. At 
the end of the two days' battle, which in courage 
and carnage has scarcely a parallel, as the two wings 
of the Confederate Army met on the field, their bat- 
tle flags waved triumphantly above every gory acre 
of it; and their ringing shouts rose to heaven a 
mighty anthem of praise and gratitude for the vic- 
tory. Bragg did not reap the fruits of the victory, 
but that is another question. 

What are the conclusions that any fair-minded, 
competent military man is compelled to arrive at 
from General Boynton's report? It is this: Rose- 
crans, after two days of hard fighting in which all 

206 



CHICKAMAUGA 

of his force was engaged, was driven from the 
battle field. Retreated the afternoon of the 20th with 
part of his force to Chattanooga, and dispatched 
Washington that his army had been defeatedl 

H^ left Thomas in command, but thinking he 
would be driven at once from Snodgrass Hill, sent 
him an order by General James Garfield at four 
o'clock p. m. to fall back to Rossville. Thomas, how- 
ever, decided to hold his position if he could until 
nightfall, when he could retire more safely. But 
Bushrod Johnson's persistence in passing around 
his right With Preston's and Kershaw's help in front 
and Longstreet's enfilading battery of eleven guns, 
caused Thomas to change his mind, and give the 
order to fall back at five thirty o'clock. 

The Confederates charging his line all along, left, 
center and right just at that time, made his move 
awkward and caused some loss and more celerity 
than was consistent with the dignity of a victorious 
retreat! However, Thomas' force reached Rossville 
as ordered. His position there was strong against a 
direct attack, but could be easily turned by a con- 
centration in force against his right in Chattanooga 
Valley. Thomas saw this, and advised General 
Rosecrans to withdraw all of his army to Chatta- 
nooga, which was done the next night. 

In the meantime, if Bragg had listened to Forrest 
and Longstreet and sent all of the cavalry into 
Chattanooga, the night of the 20th, by Chattanooga 
Valley road, followed by Longstreets Corps, whilst 
Polk's and Hill's Corps held Thomas at Rossville 
or attacked him if he moved to the relief of Chatta- 
nooga, what then? Thomas' line at Rossville ex- 
tended from the gap to Chattanooga Creek, from 
there to Lookout Mountain (a long way) was held 
by only two Brigades of demoralized cavalry and 
Post's Brigade Infantry, which had not been engaged. 
There w£is no reason why this force should not have 
been brushed aside by a concentrated effort, and 
the town captured with all the force there. 

20^ 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

The Federal army on the last day (20th Septem- 
ber) had the advantage of a fortified position; (on 
higher ground) from whence it was fmally driven 
by the Confederate onslaught; the Federals losing 
six thousand prisoners, and much of their artillery, 
small arms, and ammunition. There has been more 
contention over this fight as to who were the victors 
than any other. 

Northern men will readily concede 1st and 2nd 
Manassas, Ghancellorsville, Fredricksburg, the bat- 
tles of the Valley Campaign, and the fights around 
Richmond, and others. Southern men will concede 
Gettysburg (July 3rd), Vicksburg, Atlanta, Nash- 
ville and other fights as Federal victories; but when 
Ghickamauga is mentioned, well, "that brings on 
more talk." So it is well to see what are the facts, 
"for verily you cannot take the truth away from a 
strong mind by simply declaring something else is 
truth." It will be seen that General H. V. Boynton, 
(who fought in this battle under Rosecrans, and to 
whose vigorous pen and wise labors much credit is 
due for the success of the great battle park of Ghick- 
amauga, and who is one of the ablest and fairest 
commentators upon that remarkable struggle,) ad- 
mits that the Federal army was driven from the 
field, but he has a theory that, although Rosecrans 
abandoned the field after two days' desperate fight- 
ing to hold it, yet his retirement was not a retreat, 
but an advance! 

LONGSTREET'S REPORT ON BATTLE OF 
GHICKAMAUGA. 

What is General Longstreet's testimony? Lieut. 
General Jas. B. Longstreet says: 

"I left the train at Ringgold late in the afternoon 
of the 19th of September, mounted and hurried to 
the battlefield. Met General Bragg at 11 p. m., who 
informed me that his troops had been engaged dur- 
ing the day in severe skirmishing while endeavoring 
to get into line of battle. 

208 



CHICKAMAUGA 

In the alleged skirmishing, some of the brigades 
on both sides had lost at least one-third their num- 
bers. On the morning of the 20th, before Bragg 
engaged his battle, he found the road between the 
enemy's left and Chattanooga, open; which gave 
him opportunity to interpose, or force the enemy 
from his works to open battle, to save his line. But 
he preferred his plan of direct attack by his right 
wing. 

He was there, and put the Corps of Lieut. General 
D H. Hill to the work at 9:30 a. m. (20th). Breck- 
enridge's and Glebern's Divisions on the right. They 
crossed the Chattanooga and LaFayette road, 
changed front and bore down upon the enemy's 
works. 

After a gallant fight they were repulsed. John- 
son's Brigade of Cheatham's Division, and the re- 
serve Corps under W. H. T. Walker, Liddel's and 
Govan's Brigades, all were ordered in as supports. 
These troops, without exception, made a brave and 
gallant fight, but were unccessful, and forced to 
suspend aggressive work. 

As the "grand wheel" to the left did not progress, 
I sent at 11 o'clock A. M. to say to General Bragg, 
that my column of attack could probably 
break the enemy's line, if he cared to have it go in. 
Before answer came General A. P. Stewart, com- 
manding my right division, received a message from 
General Bragg to go in and attack by his division, 
and reported that similar orders had been received 
by all my division commanders. 

General Stewart was in hot engagement before 
word reached me that the battle had been put in the 
hands of Division Commanders, but my orders 
reached General Hood in time to hold him and the 
commanders on his left. 

The Divisions of Bushrod Johnson and Hindman 
were ordered to follow in close eschelon, on Hood's 
left. Buckner's pivoling Division, under Preston, 

209 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

was left to the position the Confederate chief had 
assigned it. 

In our immediate front were the parts of the 20th 
and 21st Corps in two lines covered by rail defenses 
and well posted batteries. 

A bold push of Hood's Division at the Brotherton 
House gave us the first lines of the enemy, and a 
large number of his guns and prisoners. As we 
approached the second line, Johnson's Division 
charged upon it, capturing some more guns. Hood 
and Hindman's Divisions pressing in close con- 
nection with this attack forced the 20th and 21stf 
Corps from that part of the field back over the ridge 
in disordered retreat; and a part of Negley's Divi- 
sion of the 14th Corps by the same impulsion. 

At this juncture Hindman reported his left Bri- 
gade had been struck by cavalry and forced back 
in disorder. Trigg was ordered to the relief of 
Manigault's Brigade. H seems that two brigades 
cavalry struck Manigault on the left and rear; but 
this brigade rallied on Trigg. 

Trigg and Manigault then advanced and put the 
attacking force of cavalry back until they found it 
necessary to retire behind the fidge, and cover the 
withdrawal of trains left exposed by the retreat of 
the 20th and 21st Corps. 

Calls were repeated for our cavalry to ride in pur- 
suit of the retreating forces and guard the gap of 
the ridge. It was now one o'clock p. m., I rode with 
General Buckner and staff to view the changed con- 
ditions of the battle. We marked the ground line 
of his field works as they were spread along the 
front of the enemy's right wing. My artillery, hav- 
ing not yet arrived. General Buckner was asked to 
establish a twelve-gun battery on my right, to en- 
filade the enemy's works and line. 

I rode off to enjoy my lunch, but before we had 
half finished, our pleasures were interrupted by a 
fragment of shell that came tearing through the 
woods, passed through a book in the hands of a 

210 



CHICKAMAUGA 

courier who sat on his horse hard by, reading, and 
struck down my chief of ordnance, Colonel P. T. 
Manning, gasping as was supposed in the struggles 
of death. 

Friends sprang forward to give aid and relief. 
In his hurry to finish his lunch he had just taken 
a large bite of sweet potato, which seemed to be 
suffocating him. We first relieved him of the po- 
tato and gave him a chance to breathe. This done, 
he revived and was soon on his feet. 

General Bragg, at this juncture, sent for me. The 
change of the order of the battle was explained, 
and what we had done. That we had captured 
thirty-odd cannon, etc. He was informed of orders 
given General Bushrod Johnson for my left; and to 
General Buckner for a battery on the right. I then 
ofTered as a suggestion of the way to fmish our 
work, that he abandon the plan for battle by our 
right wing, draw off the force from that front that 
had rested since my left wing took up the battle; 
join them with my left wing, move swiftly down 
the Dry Valley road, pursuing the retreating force, 
occupy the right and call that force to its own 
relief. 

He was disturbed by the failure of his plan, and 
the severe repulse of his right wing, and said: 
"There is not a man in the right wing who has' 
any fight in him." He did not wait, nor did he ex- 
press approval or disapproval of the operation of 
the left wing, but rode for his headquarters at 
Reid's Bridge. There was nothing for the left wing 
to do, but work along as best it could. 

Preston's Division was pulled away from its moor- 
ings on the river bank (Ghickamauga) to reinforce 
our worn battle. 

The battery not opening promptly, as expected, 
Johnson was fmally ordered into strong, steady bat- 
tle. He pushed through part of the woodland, drove 
back an array of artillery and the supporting in- 
fantry, and gained elevated ground. 

211 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

The sound of battle attracted General Granger of 
the Federal Reserve Corps. He marched towards 
the noise, passed by the front of Forrest's Calvary 
and the front of our right wing, but no report of his 
march ivas sent lis. 

The day was on the wane, our foot scouts re- 
ported that there was nothing on the road taken by 
Ihr- enemy's retreating columns, but squads of foot- 
men. 

Lieutenant Colonel Claiborne reported that the 
cavalry was not riding in response to my calls. I 
dispatched as follows: 

Battlefield, Sept. 20th, '63—5 :09 p. m. 

General Wheeler: 
Lieutant General Longstreet orders you to 

proceed down the road towards the enemy's 

right and, with your artillery, endeavor to en- 
filade his line with celerity. 

By order of Lieut. Gen. Longstreet, 

Thos. Claiborne, 
Lieut. Col. Cavalry. 

General Preston reinforced us by his Brigade, 
under Grace, pushed beyond our battle, and gained 
a height and intervening dell before Snodgrass Hill. 
But the enemy's reserves were on the hill and full 
€f fight, even to the aggressive. We were pushed 
back through the valley and up the slope until Gen- 
eral Preston succeeded in getting his Brigade, under 
Trigg, to the support. Our battery got up at last, 
under Major Williams, and opened its destructive 
fire from eleven guns, which presently convinced 
General Thomas that his position was no longer 
tenable. He drew Reynold's Division from its 
trenches near the angle, for assignment as rear 
guard. 

Lieutenant Colonel Sorrel, of my stafT, reported 
ihis move, and was sent with orders to General 
Str^wart to strike down against the enemy's mov- 
ing forces. It seems that at the same time Liddell's 

212 



CHICKAMAUGA 

division of tlie extreme right was ordered against 
the march of the reserves. , 

Stewart's division got into Reynold's Ime and too.k 
several hundred prisoners. Meanwhile Reynolds 
met the attack and drove back Liddell's division. 
That accomplished, he was ordered to position to 
cover the retreat. 

The entrenched line of Thomas was crumbling 
faster than we supposed, and their reserves were en- 
gaged in hot defensive battle to hold secure the Gap, 
while there was yet two hours of dayhght. 

Had the four Brigades of Cheatham's Division, 
that had not been in action, gone in at the same; 
time as Liddell's Division, it is hardly possible that 
the Confederate commander could have failed to 
find the enemy's empty lines along the front of hiSx 
right iving, and called both luings into a grand final 
sweep of the field; to the capture of Thomas' com- 
mand. But Bragg ivas not present and the condition 
of affairs ivas embarrassing to the subordinate com- 
manders. 

\Mipn Liddell's division was passed beyond the 
enemy's entrenchments to strike Grainger, a vigdant 
chief, present and advised that the enemy was on 
his last legs— could well have sprung the right wing 
into the opening beyond his right, securing crush- 
ing results. , 

The contention by our left was maintained as a 
separate and independent battle. The last of my re- 
serve, Trigg's Brigade, gave new strength, and Pres- 
ton gained" Snodgrass Hill. The left wing swept 
forward, and the right sprang to the broad Chatta- 
hooga highway. Like magic the Union army had 
melted awav in our presence. 

A few hundred prisoners were picked up by both 
wings, as thev met; to burst their throats in loud 
huzzas. The army of Tennessee knew how to enjoy 
its first grand victory! 

The dews of twilight hung heavy about the trees, 
as if to hold down the voice of victory; but the two 

15 213 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

lines nearing as they advanced, joined their contin- 
uous shout in increasing volume, in a tremendous 
swell of heroic harmony that seemed almost to lift 
from their roots the great trees of the forest. 

Before greetings and congratulations upon the 
success had passed^ it was night, and the mild beams 
of the quartering moon, were more suggestive of 
Venus than Mars. 

The haversacks and ammunition supplies were 
ordered replenished, and the Confederate army made 
its bivouac on the ground. It had gained the first 
pronounced victory in the West, and one of the 
most stubbornly contested battles of the war. 

Rosecrans' order to Thomas at four o'clock was a 
suggestion more than an order. It was given under 
the conviction that the Confederates, having the 
Dry Valley road, would pass the ridge to the west 
side, cut General Thomas off and strike his rear at 
pleasure. That General Thomas so construed it, was 
evidenced by his decision to hold "until nightfall if 
possible." 

It was not until after nightfall that Rosecrans' pos- 
itive order for retreat was issued, as appears from 
the letter written from Rossville by General James 
A. Garfield, Chief-of-Staff, dated 8:40 p. m. Three 
hours and more after the move was taken up. (See 
U. S. Government records, Vol. 30, Part 1, page 144). 

The battle was the fifth greatest of the war. ^4/ 
peculiar feature of this battle was the early ride of 
both corrtmanders from the field, leaving the battle 
to their troops. Bragg did not know he had won 
a complete victory until the next morning the 
21st! When riding to his extreme right, he found 
his commander at that point seeking the enemy in 
his immediate front, and commended the officer on 
his vigilance, twelve hours after the retreat of the 
enemy's forces. 

Gen. Rosecrans no doubt prepared to continue his 
retreat, anticipating our march to his rear and cut- 
ting off his supplies; but finding we preferred to 

214 



CHICKAMAUGA 

lay our lines in front of him, concluded it would 
be more comfortable to rest in Chattanooga." 

NoT&— The balance of Longstreet's report is taken 
up in explaining how Bragg lost the fruits of his 
victory and what might have been accomplished by 
Bragg. 



XX. 

TURGHIN'S ILIAD. 

"Sing, Goddess, of the direful wrath of Achilles 
the son of Peleus." And now again of the Federal 
side : Let's hear from Turchin, the Russian. Brig- 
adier General John B. Turchin commanded the 3rd 
Brigade, 4th Division, 14th Corps, Army of the Cum- 
berland. . 

He had been Colonel on the General staff in the 
Imperial Guard of Russia. We are indebted to the 
"direful wrath of Achilles" for the greatest epic 
poem ever written. It has come down to us through 
the ages. For three thousand years it has stood un- 
equalled by any imitators. 

Had not Achilles "got mad"! Homer would noi 
have been inspired. Had not Turchin been moved 
to anger, we would not have been favored with the 
best account of the Chickamauga campaign and bat- 
tle that has been written. 

His book is the most learned military diagnosis I 
have seen. Educated in the best war schools of 
Europe, and serving in an army where the "science 
military" has reached its zenith, he had been used 
to seeing men butchered a la carte; and Bragg's 
crude manner of pitching in, "without any plan" 
and "at any old place," made him mad; and General 
Stedman's withdrawal of his division (Federal) 
early in the afternoon (five thirty p. m.) from "Snod- 

215 



FOUR YEARS ON THE f'IRING LINE 

grass Hill," causing, as he says, the capture of a, 
regiment of his brigade the 89th Ohio, with the 21st 
Ohio and 22nd Michigan Regiments (Whitaker's Bri- 
gade) brought his "direful wrath" to the highest 
pitch. He is very bitter over the fact that Stedman 
retreated too quickly, and devotes a large part of his 
book trying to prove that there was no occasion for 
the sacrifice of those fme regiments. He calls it 
"neglect," and goes on to say, "an officer who want- 
only sacrifices other commands, while saving his 
own (Stedman's Division) is not worthy of the sa- 
cred trust put in his hands." 

As about thirty-five years had elapsed when he 
wrote, he had evidently forgotten about Longstreet's 
eleven-gun battery (Major Williams) that went into 
action late that afternoon, and which was enfilading 
Thomas' position on Snodgrass Hill; and Bushrod 
Johnson's two Divisions which had flanked the po- 
sition on the right, and got in the rear; and the ad- 
vance of Bragg's right wing at that time ; all render- 
ing Thomas and Granger's "orderly retreat" (ha 
talks about) quite impossible. 

As to this, Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Glenn, of his 
own (89th Ohio), says (See Goverment report) : "Our 
forces (the three regiment) were surrendered about 
dark ; twilight. We were in Whitaker's Brigade and 
subject to his orders. We were surrounded by Kel- 
ley and Triggs' Rebel Brigades and had to surren- 
der." 

A chaplain in one of the captured regiments says : 
"As we were marched up. General Kelley called to 
our Colonel Carlton (22nd Michigan), 'Hello, Carl- 
ton; we seem to have you in a bad fix.' " Kelley and 
Carlton had been in the same class at West Point. 
This was in the rear of Snodgrass Hill, which (it 
is claimed) Thomas held to the last, and then fell 
back in good order. But this is a digression, so let 
us return to General Turchin's report. 

He says: "The, contest on the 19th was a battle — 
a mad, irregular iDattle, 'tis true — where the science 

216 



TURCHIN'S ILIAD 

and art of war went for nothing. Bragg seemed to 
have no plan; the fight extended over seven miles, 
there were three groups of troops that were desper- 
ately fighting; one group on our extreme left. Walk- 
er's, Cleburne's and Cheatham's Divisions, fighting 
Brannon's, Johnson's and Baird's (Union) Divisions 
of our army. To the right of that were Palmer's and 
Reynolds' Divisions contending with Stewart's Con- 
federate division. The third group, still to the Fed- 
eral right in the vicinity of the Vineyard Farm, was 
Van Gleve's, Davis' and Sheridan's division, fighting 
Hood's, Bushrod Johnson's, and a part of Preston's 
Divisions. 

Upon the whole, whatever advantage there was 
(19th) was gained by our troops. We used the La- 
Fayette road to reorganize our lines for the morrow. 
We not only righted ourselves, but blocked access 
to Chattanooga. Details worked all night building 
barricades. Bragg formed his line facing us on the 
La Fayette road. On tJie morning of the 20th the 
danger for us was the centering on the left. Bragg 
knew we were behind barricades, he was on the 
offensive, and could shift his troops in any way he 
pleased without danger of our leaving our lines; 
he could have moved his columns north in the morn- 
ing, passing by our extreme left and directed them 
on Rossville, in easy reach of his base of supplies at 
Ringgold; that movement alone would have com- 
Delled us to abandon our fortified position, and move 
hurriedly towards Chattanooga; then he could have 
fought us on equal terms, and perhaps would have 
succeeded in defeating our army and taking Chat- 
tanooga. 

When an enemy is lying behind barricades, it is 
madness to attack in front, but there is hardly a 
position without some weak point, that should be 
turned to account, and thus force the enemy to fight 
on equal terms. But Bragg attacked our left with 
his right wing, in two desperate assaults and was 
repulsed with heavy loss. 

217 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Longstreet advanced his Corps at one o'clock, 
routed our center and right wing which Thomas 
rallied and formed under Brannan on "Snodgrass 
Hill." Longstreet charged this position, but Ker- 
shaw's Division, after gaining the crest, was driven 
back. 

Soon after Kershaw's repulse Bushrod Johnson 
advanced his left and captured some wagons, caisons 
and guns. This line reached some spurs north of 
the Vititoe House. Batteries were placed here in 
position by Rebels and opened two p. m. and his 
line again advanced under severe fire from our men. 
Gregg's Brigade gained the crest of the ridge (Viti- 
toe's) after several contests, but our men rallied and 
drove them off. Johnson, then being flanked, was 
compelled to fall back. 

Thus the triumphant Rebels in breaking our line, 
chasing our routed troops, capturing men, cannon 
and trains, were cooled down, by these assaults, in 
which they sustained fearful losses. 

But that Rebel, Bushrod Johnson (one of the best 
officers in Bragg's army) although whipped, didn't 
seem to realize it; and unlike the right wing of 
Bragg's army, refused to be quiet when he had 
enough. He saw that our line was weak on our 
right, and commenced to make preparations to turn 
it." About this time General Hindman received a 
slight wound and placed Johnson in command of 
two Divisions, Manigault's Brigade came up and ad- 
vanced through Vititoe field and Deas' Brigade swept 
the ridge west of the road, both formed on left oft 
Johnson's line, which was as follows : Deas', Mani- 
gault's. Johnson's, Gregg's, Anderson's, and McNair's 
Brigades. 

Just then Granger sent Stedman's Division to 
Thomas, and Bushrod Johnson's line could not hold 
position. And yet Longstreet decided to still con- 
tinue the assaults at this point. The Union armies, 
right and left wings were at right angles to each' 
other, with a long interval between. 

218 



TURCHIN'S ILIAD 

Longstreet ought to have thrown Preston's Divi- 
sion, supported by Stewart's Division, in this gap; 
however, another assault on "Horseshoe Ridge" 
(Snodgrass) was determined on. Preston at three 
thirty p. m. was moved to Dyer's field to support Ker- 
shaw and formed in rear of that division. Benning's 
Georgia Brigade captured a Battery near Dyer's 
house, driving our men from the field; at this en- 
counter General Hood was wounded, the ball shat- 
tering his thigh and the command devolved on Ker- 
shaw. Brannon charged Kershaw's Division here 
(Dyer's) but failed to retake the position or battery; 
they were repulsed. Kershaw advanced, but was 
compelled to halt. Bushrod Johnson advanced his 
line to Crawfish Spring road on his left. 

Johnson threw out skirmishers and then about 
four o'clock another assault was made. The con- 
tinuation of the enemy's assault on our right and 
the coincide7ice of time between the last assault made 
towards evening by the Rebel lines on our left and 
our voluntary withdrawal, made the Rebel troops 
believe they had at last driven us by force of arms' 
from the ridge. Cleburne claims that Polk's Bri-' 
gade captured the northwest angle of the works on 
our left." As to this, Brig. General Lucius E. Polk, 
in his report says: "About four o'clock I placed a 
battery in position and was enfilading the enemies 
left, when I noticed that they commenced to waver. 
I ordered a charge and captured their works and a 
good many prisoners and drove off their reserves in 
confusion. Then the rest of our right wing swept 
forward, and down the line. The "enemy was in 
full retreat." 

Of his final action General Bushrod Johnson says : 
"Over three hours passed in this conflict at "Snod- 
grass Hill," in which officers and men toiled on and 
manifested more perseverance, determination and 
endurance than I have ever before witnessed on any 
field. 

219 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

We had now completely flanked and passed to 
the rear of the enemy on the ridge to our right. 
About this time ttwilight) the ridge was carried. 

Colonel Trigg, 54th Virginia, Commanding Brig- 
adier of Preston's Division and General Kelley's Bri- 
gade, capturing three Regiments of Granger's Corps. 
General Stedman (Federal) withdrew his division to 
a ridge in the rear. Palmer's, Baird's and Johnson's 
Divisions on Federal left, were attacked as they left 
position and the fighting was severe." (It seems 
Bragg was mistaken about his right wing not hav- 
ing any fight left in them!) 

"Baird lost heavily in the withdrawal, mainly by 
captures. It was now nearly sunset, when a simul- 
taneous adyance swept along our whole line." Gen- 
erl Thomas, seeing the confusion on his left, ordered 
Turchin to throw his Brigade into line facing the 
enemy, and charge, which he did, driving the ad- 
vancing Rebs back, for which gallant action, it seems 
he failed to get proper credit. I think General 
Thomas simply mentions it. He should have recom- 
mended Turchin for promotion. 

General Turchin goes on to say: "When the 
Thomas movement in retreat commenced, Stewart's 
Confederate Division charged into Reynold's (Fed- 
eral) Division, about the center, as it was moving 
back to cover retreat; threw them into confusion, 
and captured over four hundred (400) prisoners, 
it was then my Brigade charged, and checked the 
advance." (There's no doubt he was a stiff fighter 
and had a good Brigade) and I think he saved 
Thomas right there, and enabled him to retreat safe- 
ly to Rossville. 

As to the three captured Regiments already men- 
tioned, Turchin claims they could have been with- 
drawn, and he goes on to lament, says he: "The 
horrors of the Southern prison-pens, in which my 
men of the 89th Ohio and others, the 22nd Michigan 
and 21st Ohio Regiments suffered, and the foul treat- 
ment by the barbarous keepers of those horribl"^ 

22p 



TURCHIN'S ILIAD 

dens of inhumanity and shame." I will add, "com- 
pelled to eat three full rations every day (as Federal 
prisoners afterwards testified) of course coryi bread, 
that scratched their throats (not to mention "fab 
sow-belly"). In fact, I imagine there never was 
anything like it, this side of his native Siberia; un- 
less it was the "cold cheer at Gamp Morton," as" 
depicted by John A. Wyeth, M. D. LL. D., of New 
York. Napoleon said: "Scratch a Russian, and 
you will fmd a Tartar". Mad as a Tartar" is an 
'expression I have always heard, but never before 
caught the full scope of the simile; but now I Imow 
there is something in it. For we find Turchin mad 
thirty-five years after everybody else got in a good 
humor; and reiterating charges that were exploded 
in the halls of Congress long ago! 

Coming from the Russian Army, we can imagine 
anything like "inhumanity" must have touched his 
sensibilities very deeply." 

As to "Turchin's Lambs" who were captured : In 
the United States Government Records, Vol, 30, Ser- 
ies 1, Part 2, Colonel Hiram Hawkins, 5th (Confed- 
erate) Kentucky Infantry, Kelley's Brigade, reports : 
he says in part : "Changing directions to the right, 
(it then being near dark) we moved but a shorl 
distance when a line of battle" was discovered forty 
to sixty yards distance, who first announced they 
w^ere "friends," then that they "surrendered." Steal- 
ing this advantage, they treacherously fired upon us, 
killing and wounding several of my men and offi- 
cers. Among the killed was Lieutenant Yates, a 
brave and gallant officer. The same volley shattered 
the leg of Captain Calvert, who died from the 
wound. My men recovering from the temporary 
surprise caused by the treachery of the enemy, re- 
formed and with fixed bayonets, advanced; joined 
by Major French, Col. Palmer, and Col. Trigg, we 
captured the three Regiments, who surrendered to 
Col. Trigg in the absence of Col. Kelley." 

221 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Colonels Trigg and Kelley, in their reports, as to 
this movement, mentions sending back for Mani- 
gault's and Deas Brigades, asking that they would 
advance and form on their left, thus cutting off re- 
treat to Rossville by the Dry Valley road, but they 
did not come." And then Bushrod Johnson says in 
his report: "At five o'clock p. m., I sent my acting 
aid-de-camp (Lieut. Geo. Marchbanks, G. S. A.) back 
to foot of ridge to request Brig. General Deas and 
Manigault to bring up their Brigades to my support. 

Lieut. Marchbanks reported that General Deas re- 
plied that on consultation with General Manigault 
they had decided it would not be safe to put their: 
commands in the same position without support of 
fresh troops. Deas' Brigade had done some good 
fighting during the afternoon; had defeated Lytle's 
Brigade, when that general was killed. And so had 
Manigault's Brigade with the help of Trigg, driven 
the Blue Lightning Mounted InfanTry Brigade, with 
thrir repeating rifles, pell-mell from the field. But 
like that Brigade, they knew when they had enough, 
and so they left the Dry Valley road open for the 
enemy's retreat to Rossville. 

But to return to Turchin's book : He tells the facts 
and proves a Confederate victory; but, like General 
Bovnton, he tries to claim too much for the Federal 
side, still he admits "If Bragg had been an able com- 
mander, the Federals should not have held Chat- 
tanooga." 

GENERAL JOSEPH WHEELER'S REPORT ON 
BATTLE OF CHIGKAMAUGA. 

As General Longstreet has criticised the "Cav- 
alry" in his report, let us see what they were 
doing these eventful days. Major General Jo- 
seph Wheeler savs, he skirmished on Long- 
street's left on the 18th and 19th; that he 
had but two thousand (2,000) cavalry present. 
That Ashby's Brigade was on the right, with For- 
rest; and that other brigades of his two Divi- 

222 



TURCHIN'S ILIAD 

sions were posted at the Gaps of Lookout Moun- 
tain. That in response to General Longstreet's 
"Call", "I crossed Ghickamauga Creek on the 20th 
about 3 o'clock at Lee and Gordon's Mill, captured 
one thousand prisoners, five hospitals with their 
sick and wounded, and one hundred surgeons and 
many army teams." 

That seems very little to accomplish considering 
the utter rout of Rosecran's right wing and center 
and the big opportunity offered: however, he says 
in his report, "on the next morning (21st) I received 
information from my pickets at "Owen's Ford" that 
the enemy in large force was driving back my cav- 
alry from that point. I immediately moved over to 
Chattanooga Valley and drove back to Chattanooga 
the force that was marching from that place. I 
then left the 8th Texas Rangers and my escort to 
hold the enemy in check while, with the balance of 
the command, I moved up towards McLemore's 
Cove. 

After marching five miles, we met a large force 
of cavalry which had deployed two Regiments, and 
commenced skirmishing. I detached a squad to 
turn their right. This caused the enemy to waver, 
when we charged in line and also column on the 
road, driving him in confusion. 

The enemy attempted to reform a new line, with 
his reserves, several times, but we drove him before 
us ; capturing, killing and dispersing the entire com- 
mand, said to number 2,000. We secured four hun- 
dred prisoners on the road. We also captured 
eighteen stands of colors and their entire train of 
ninety wagons loaded with valuable baggage and 
supplies. Many of their men who escaped to the 
woods came in and surrendered. Only seventy- 
five men succeeded in reaching the Federal army. 
We pressed on to one and one-fourth miles Chat- 
tanooga." 

Note — It will be seen that Wheeler found the 
enemy on the 21st demoralized and easily overcome, 

223 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

and his report sustains the contention that if Bragg 
had ordered all his cavalry in Kol pursuit down 
Chattanooga Valley road, supported by Infantry, 
night of the 20th, the Federal Cavalry and Post's 
Brigade would have been brushed aside, Chatta- 
nooga captured, and maybe Rosecrans, with all the 
refugees that were huddled up on the river bank. 

In the meantime Hill and Polk's Corps could have 
held Thomas at Rossville. 

LIEUTENANT GENERAL N. B. FORREST'S RE- 
PORT—BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA. 

General Forrests' report says, in part: "Drove 
enemy from Leet's Tan-yard, and with aid of In- 
fantry across Chickamauga Creek on the 17th and 
18th, and on the 19th fought the enemy below 
Reed's Bridge. General W. H. T. Walker command- 
ing; whose Division acted gallantly, capturing two 
Batteries. But they being outnumbered, had to fall 
back to Reed Bridge road. On the 20th I moved up 
with Breckenridge's Division, capturing hospital on 
LaFayette road (Cloud Spring), but had to fall back 
when Granger advanced. I detained him, by shell- 
ing his command and manuevering my troops. 

After Granger passed, I moved forward and took 
possession of the road from the hospitals (Cloud 
Springs) to woods on the left. Placed fourteen 
guns (14) in position, which had to be moved j:)ack 
on account Infantry support giving away. Moved 
them back to first position from which I had been 
shelling Granger's troops as they passed. 

I opened upon an advancing column, driving 
them back. This fire was very destructive to the 
enemy as it was at short range, in open ground; 
killing two Colonels and many other officers and 
privates. This terminated on the right flank the 
battle of Chickamauga. 

My command was kept on the field during the 
nighit of the 20th. On Monday morning, I moved 
forward on the LaFayette road, and found the 

224 



TURCHIN'S ILIAD 

enemy fortifying Rossville Gap. On Tuesday, moved 
over to Chattanooga Valley road, etc." 

General Granger's report says, "the artillery fire 
of the enemy did not stop my Brigades. They 
marched on to Thomas. I left Colonel Dan McCook 
Mdth only one Brigade, to hold the road to Rossville 

open". , .XI 1 

Forrests' allowing Granger to pass by, without 
detaining him by a severe fight, when he should 
have attacked him with his Cavalry, and the five 
(5) Brigades of Infantry that had not been engaged 
that day; and his failure to send Longstreet word 
that Granger's Corps had gone on to re-enforce 
Thomas, impressed me as a very strange feature of 
the battle. In view of Forrests' great efficiency 
when operating with an independent command, I 
was confident that his energy had been paralyzed 
by the bullet he caught at Leet's Tan Yard and so 
expressed myself to my friend, the late Major Mose 
H. Clift, of Chattanooga, who was on his staff. 

"No," said the Major, "that was not the reason. I 
^^sisted in extracting the bullet from Forresf s back. 
The wound was slight, and only made him feel sick 
for a short while. He went into the fight of the 
18th and i9th with his usual vim." The Major 
added "No, he was paralyzed by Bragg's orders. He 
could not move as he wanted to on the 20th." I 
suppose it was a case of Bragg-paralysis with Gen- 
eral Wheeler also. 

Note— General Grant, on being asked: "Who 
was the greatest military genius the Civil War pro- 
duced?" replied: "Bedford Forrest. He accom- 
plished more with the force at his command, than 
any other man." This was a just estimate of For- 
res t— unhindered ! 

GENERAL WILDER'S REPORT— BATTLE OF 
CHICKAMAUGA. 

If Wheeler's and Forrest's cavalry were com- 
paratively inactive on the 20th and had " Bragg 

225 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Paralysis" for the opportunities offered, it appears 
that the Federal cavalry were not so afflicted. 

Wilder's mounted infantry brigade, the "Records" 
show, were kept on the go, {to the rear,) from the> 
time the Confederate strucg them at "Leet's Tan 
Yard" on the extreme left, until they turned up on 
the extreme right; and from there on to near Chat- 
tanooga; but this could not be found out from Gen- 
eral Wilder's report; a synopsis of which is given. 
He says, in part: 

"On September skirmished at Leet's Tan Yard 
with Pegram's brigade: charged his position." (Evi- 
dently repulsed) for he says, "Cut my way through 
Strahl's brigade, occupying my road to Lee and 
Gordon's Mill, and joined General Crittenden. 

On next day rejoined General Reynolds at Cooper 
Gap ten miles away. On 17th sent to guard Alex- 
ander Bridge. 

Attacked by a brigade of infantry, but we re- 
pulsed them easily. Col, Minty being at Reed's 
Bridge, two miles below with only one brigade. 

I sent him Col. Miller with 72nd Indiana, seven 
companies of the 123rd Illinois and a section of the 
18th Indiana battery. Soon after we repulsed three 
(3) brigades rebel infantly with severe loss to them". 
However, as to this, Col. Minty reports, "I was hotly 
engaged at Reed's Bridge, and was holding the 
rebels in check, when I received a note from the 
officer in charge of my wagon train, which I had 
sent back to Lee and Gordon's mill, stating that 
"General Wilder had fallen back from Alexander 
Bridge, to Lee and Gordon's mill; and the enemy are 
crossing at all points in force." 

It seems, if General Wilder was repulsing the 
Rebs so "easily" with "great loss to them," that he 
wouldn't have run away so hurriedly that he for- 
got to notify poor Minty, who might have been 
caught in a bad fix if he hadn't got word via the> 
cook wagons, several miles in the rear. But Wilder 
continues, "On the morning of the 18th we were 

226 



TURCHIN'S ILIAD 

attacked by a brigade infantry, but we repulsed them 
"easily", but on morning of the 19th I fell back, 
"(strange!)" to the "right fighting flank" of our 
army. 

At about one o'clock p. m. heavy fighting in my 
front. I advanced my line across the road, v^^hen 
seeing a Rebel column in the act of flanking a bat- 
tery, I sent two regiments to the right to repel them. 
This was done in "handsome style by Colonels Mon- 
roe and Miller, with their regiments. In a few mo- 
ments this or another column came out of the woods 
near the Vineyard house driving General Davis's 
command before them. 

General Crittenden came near being captured in 
trying to rally these troops. I imediately changed 
front and enfiladed their right flank with an oblique 
firp, which soon drove them back with terrible 
slaughter. 

I placed Capt. Lilly's battery in position and raked 
a ditch full of Rebs, with cannister, with terrible 
slaughiev, very few escaping alive; after that fear- 
ful slaughter, we were not again attacked that day." 

Note. — I suppose not. Like Senacherib's army in 
the Valley of Dry Bones, "When they woke up in 
the morning, behold they were all dead corpses"! 
Furthermore General Wilder reports his total loss in 
the four days' fighting, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th 
September, inclusive, one hundred and twenty-five 
(125) ; of this number there were 108 killed and 
wounded and 17 missing. Presumably, the spooks 
got them, (see War Rebellion reports. Series 1, Vol. 
30, Part 1.) 

This loss is trivial compared with the losses re- 
ported by other brigade commanders of Reynolds' 
Federal division. It is strange that such "terrible 
slaughter" could have been inflicted with such a 
small loss! 

Gen. H. V. Boynton's report says, "The whole 
right wing was swept from the field in disorderly 
retreat." These contradictory statements caused me 

227 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

to look up the reports of the officers commanding 
regiments in Wilder's brigade, and the report of 
Gapt. Lilly, commanding the battery that did such 
havoc. Captain Eli Lilly, 18th Indiana battery, 
Wilder's brigade, reports: "On the 19th moved in 
support of Davis' division, west side facing Lee and 
Gordon's Mills and Chattanooga road; fired on some 
R-^-bs, and checked them at a field. On the 20th took 
position with brigade on extremem right at — 
o^clock, Sheridan's division was faltering; we 
shelled a field and the enemy fell back to woods. 

\^'e now moved to Chattanooga Valley, five miles 
from Chattanooga; loss two men killed, eight 
wounded." (Note — It seems that Lilly was not 
aware of the damage he had inflicted; and in fact 
from the loss he reports that he could not have been 
seriously engaged at any time, and that he re- 
treated ten miles or more on the 20th.) 

General Wilder furthermore says : "On the morn- 
ing of the 20th I took up strong position on crest 
of^Missionary Ridge, one-fourth of a mile from 
Widow Glenn's House. We lay here until eleven 
thirty o'clock a. m. Desperate fighting was heard 
down the line. 

A column of Rebs assaulted the troops on my left, 
driving and dispersing them. My command was at 
this time advancing by regiments in line of battle. 
Tile 98th Illinois charged and we took battery at 
Mrs. Glenn's house. Their gallant. Colonel Funk- 
hoTiser. was wounded, when the whole line was 
ordered to charge. In the meantime a force of the 
enemy had been maneuvering my right ("Spooks!) 
Note— (I suppose these were Manigault's brigade 
that were all killed on the 19th in the ditch!) Capt. 
Lilly in the meantime pouring a heavy fire down 
this line, etc., when I withdrew." (Note — How 
modest. Did not retreat; no never,)" to top of Mis- 
sionary Ridge. 

Lieutenant Colonel Thurston, chief of General 
McCook's stafT, soon appeared, and advised that "I 

228 



TURCHIN'S ILIAD 

had better fall back to Lookout Mountain." I deter- 
mined to cut my way to Rossville. Gen. Ghas A. 
Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, came up and 
said, "Our army had fled in utter confusion or 
panic that it ivas a worse rout than Bull Run" ; one 
of my staff came up, and advised that I had better 
continue to fall back to Ghattanooga Valley." 

These big advisors evidently did not want General 
Wilder to do anything desperate, seeing that he was 
excited and had "fit enough", annihilated everything 
except the spooks, and it v^^as no use to contend 
against them, and as General Wheeler was on the 
Ghattanooga Valley just opposite. He went way 
back and sat down, in four miles of Ghattanooga, 
and guarded the cook wagon down there. "By the 
waters of Babylon (Blowing Springs) there we sat 
down. Yes, we wept when he remembered Zion 
(Widow Glenn's) ; we hung our Harps (Spencer's) 
on the willows" and listened to the music from^ 
Snodgrass Hill as Turchin's brigai^e checked Stew- 
art's onslaught upon Reynolds' division! 

The reports of the Golonels commanding regiment 
in Welder's brigade are of interest, and throw light 
on the situation. 

Col. Abram 0. Miller^ 72nd Indiana, reports (Gov- 
ernment records, Series 1, Vol. 30) : "Fell back on 
the 18th, to Widov^^ Glenn's House; from there fell 
back and reformed line on ridge. On the 19th 
checked enemy, but fell back to rear with rest of 
brigade. 

On the 20th changed to right of brigade as ordered 
by Col. Wilder: about noon the enemy pressing up; 
ordered to meet them; contest hot; enemy in our 
rear firing on men holding horses that necessitated 
our withdrawal, and finding we were cut off, we at 
once retreated to seven il) miles of Ghattanooga". 

Col. Edward Ketchell, 98th Illinois, reports: "Not 
engaged on the i9th. On 20th moved to left flank in 
support Sheridan's division. Gharged. Gol. Funk- 

16 229 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

houser wounded. Fell hack with brigade to four 
miles of Chattanooga." 

Col. James Monroe, 123rd Illinois, reports: "On 
the 20th took position right of Sheridan's division — 
finding we were flanked by infantry giving away, 
we ivere ivithdrawn to seven miles of Chattanooga." 

Maj. WilUam T. Jones commanding the 17th In- 
diana reports: At four o'clock A. M., 19th, mxj[ 
right retired." Note — (I suppose his gallant left 
stood their ground!) "On 20th was ordered to retire 
one mile in line of brigade, and then retired to crest 
of hill in rear, and then one and one-half miles 
further to rear, and then to within four miles of 
Chattanooga." Note. — That was retiring some; it 
was almost retreating! 

Col. Smith D. Atkins, 92nd Illinois, reports : "Regi- 
ment was driven back on 19th and reformed on 
ridge in line with Wilder' s Brigade, on left. (Note.) 
— (It seems Wilder had got there early. And that's 
the day and time General Wilder thought he had 
killed 'em all in the ditch!) "During the night built 
breastworks of logs. On 20th formed on right Wild- 
er's Brigade as ordered, remained until about noon. 
when the enemy pressing up, I fell back, passingf 
around enemy one-half mile in rear. I formed three 
(3) times facing the enemy, but could not check his 
advance (notwithstanding the "Spencer — seven- 
shooters") and when I fell back last time, it was to 
find Brigade already moved aivay. I ivent to hunt 
Col. Wilder and found him with his brigade falling 
back. I immediately mounted and with the Brigade 
marched to near Chattanooga, where we went into 
camp, etc." 

Col. Edward M. McCook commanding a cavalry 
Division reports: "On 20th about three o'clock P. 
M. General McCook sent me order for all the cavalry 
to come up at once, as the mounted Infantry, Wilder, 
had been compelled to fall back, and the enemy was 
turning his right." Note. — But the mounted men 
didn't come up, and Wheeler captured the Hospitals,. 

230 



TURCHIN'S ILIAD 

one thousand prisoners and one hundred doctors, 
besides many ambulances, teams, supplies, and the 
sick and wounded. 

There are other reports to same effect. These re- 
ports are instructive: they explain why Wilder's 
Brigade mounted Infantry was called, after Ghick- 
amauga, "The Lightning Brigade". It seems that 
for four days, in the matter of getting to the rear 
with celerity, they had all other troops distanced. 
They never once retreated, Oh no, never! but when 
it came to reforming in the rear, they had all mount- 
ed Lightning Change Artists, skinned ten country 

lots. 

Their Ust of casualties (as reported) is not so great 
as the other brigades of their Division (Reynold's) 
showing- they did not fight much before going 
through the "lightning changes." General Wilder 
had an efficient brigade, but there were others just 
as good, and some better when it came to harc^ 
fighting. Turchin's and Vanderveer's, for instance. 
Maybe having to take care of those precious Spen- 
cer rifles, (that cost each man sixteen dollars) had 
something to do with it. "It's never the gun— it's 
the man behind the gun." How the General could 
annihilate the enemy and still suffer so Utile loss, 
and still have to retreat is a part of the "art of war" 
I never learned : and how he could know and report 
the exact number of the enemy's dead, and not hold 
the field is curious ; and why the Colonels command- 
ing his Regiments did not know and mention in 
their reports some of these wonderful things, and 
could only report slight engagements and "lightning 
changes" to the rear, is "another amazing thing". 
However, General Wilder was a good scouter dur- 
ing the war, and "developer" since, and a good all 
round genial gentleman, if he was a past master at 
making reports. The big monument to his brigade 
and bigger claims made by him have aroused a 
spirit of inquiry, and led to investigation. 
Hence, the deadly parallel! 

231 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

High military authorities have asserted that many 
an army commander has snatched distinction by 
knowng how to concoct reports and telegrams! 
Grant was a genius in that particular line. After 
his defeats in the Wilderness; Spotsylvania; Gold 
Harbor;— and the loss of 56,000 of his army, he 
dispatches : 

"The enemy are obstinate; but seem to have found 
the last ditch. We have lost no organizations- 
not even a Company!" 

His report created wild excitement, and produced 
the effect on the country that the Administration 
wanted. 

The truth is, the battle of Ghickamauga was too 
big a thing for the mounted men on either side to 
be chief factors. With the introduction of improved 
firearms, the function of the cavalry, or mounted 
Infantry, is to fight dismounted. While this is true, 
it doesn't apply to fighting Infantry in a big battle. 
The role of the mounted men is auxiliary. H is 
iheir business to do the scouting duty of the army, 
fo 6ut telegraph lines, destroy railroads, capture 
det)ots of supplies, and in every way break up the 
enemy's communications. They should get busy 
on the flanks and rear: precede and cover the march 
of the army. They should fight, but reform oftener: 
be the eyes and ears of the arniy, and keep the com- 
ma!nding General fully advised. 

if all the battles of the old Revolution were rolled 
into one, they would not equal Ghickamauga! 

After Geh.'Wilder's retreat, Gen. Dana, Asst. Sec. 
of War, went to Chattanooga, and sent to Stanton, 
Sec. of War, Washington, D. G., the following des- 
patch : i 

"Ghattanooga, Sept. 20th. 
4 P. M. 

My report to-day is of deplorable importance. 

Ghickamauga is as fatal a name in our history 
as Bull Run. * * * About one o'clock Van 

232 



TURCHIN'S ILIAD 

Cleave was seen to give way : after which the lines 
of Sheridan, and Davis, broke in disorder. 
Rebel Brigades formed in Divisions. Game through 
with resistless impulse. Before them our soldiers 
turned and fled. It was wholesale panic. Vain 
were all attempts to rally them. Wilder marched 
out unbroken. Thomas, too, is coming down the 
Rossville road with an organized command. 

Rosecrans escaped by Rossville road. * * * * 
Enemy not yet arrived before Chattanooga. Prep- 
arations to resist his entrance for a time. 

C. A. DANA. 
Hon. E. M. Stanton, 

Sec. of War." 

NOTE. — Rosecrans reached Chattanooga about 
the same hour, and despatched Lincoln at length, 
declaring: "ALL iS LOST." Etc., etc. 

See War Reports. Series I, Vol. 30, Part I. 

Certain that Bragg would seize the fruits of his 
victory, Rosencrans and Dana expected to see 
Wheeler's and Forrest's cavalry charge down Mar- 
ket Street,— followed by Longstreet's Corps. There 
was absolutely nothing to prevent it! — at this "psy- 
chological moment" of "that most immemorial" 
afternoon. 



XXL 

"SCAPEGOATS." 

After the Battle, General Bragg realized that by 
his inaction, the fruits of a great victory had been 
lost: that he had made a fiasco of the Campaign. 
That sixteen thousand of his noble, brave soldiers 
had been sacrificed to that greatest of all Molochs — 
Ignorance. So he concluded he needed a Scape- 
goat to hide his imbecility. 

He placed Lt. General Leonidas Polk, who com- 
manded his right wing, under arrest for not ad- 

233 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

vancing at daylight on the 20th as ordered; and 
ordered Polk to retire to Atlanta. President Davis 
dismissed the charges and assigned Polk to com- 
mand Department of Mississippi and Alabama. Gen- 
eral Polk in a letter to Mr. Davis, in defense of his 
action at Ghickamauga and in answer to General 
Bragg's other charges, attacks Bragg's claim that 
his troops on the night of the 20th were in such 
condition as to make immediate pursuit impossible. 
He says : "I assert that the troops at the close of the 
fight were in the very highest spirits ; ready for any 
service: and the moon by whose guidance the en- 
emy fled from the field was never brighter, as 
bright to guide us in the pursuit, as the enemy in 
iheir flight. 

No, Sir! General Bragg did not know what had 
happened and allowed the whole fruits of this great 
victory to pass from him, by the most criminal neg- 
ligence, or rather incapacity, which was in this in- 
stance a crime." 

General Bragg also relieved Hindman of com- 
mand, and ordered him to Atlanta and preferred 
charges against him for not attacking enemy at 
Steven's Gap. — McLemore's Gove. The charges were 
dismissed by President Davis. 

On the other hand, Rosecrans, although he had 
outgeneraled Bragg; still, in one way and another 
had "played the very devil and Tom Walker" and 
got his army defeated, and therefore concluded he 
must have a "Scapegoat or two", so he put poor 
General Jas. S. Negley under arrest and preferred 
charges. However, the "Court of Enquiry vindi- 
cated Negley." 

General McGook commanding 20th army Corps, 
composed of Sheridan's Johnson's and Davis' Divi- 
sions, was also put under arrest and relieved of 
command. In his case, the Court found that the 
"evidence shows that General McCook did his 
whole duty faithfully on the 19th and 20th. The 
Court, however, are of the opinion that in leaving 

234 



"SCAPEGOATS" 

the field and going to Chattanooga, General McGook 
committed a mistake," (ran too far) "but bearing 
in mind that the commanding General having pre- 
viously gone to Chattanooga, it was natural for 
General McCook to infer that the discomfitted 
troops w^ere to rally there". 

After all, then, poor McCook had only run as far 
as his Commanding General! — Rosencrans. 



XXII. 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN AND MISSIONARY RIDGE. 

Shortly after my arrival I was granted a verbal 
leave of absence for a few days, on my personal ap- 
plication; by Lt. General Hardee; to visit my farm 
"Cloverdale" in Lookout Valley; for the purpose of 
sending my negroes and Col. George Hazlehurst's 
negroes (who were on adjoining farms) to middle 
Georgia, via Rome. The negroes -had refused to fol- 
low the Yanks, when they moved away to Chick- 
amauga. 

The foreman of the two places, Tom Grayson, had 
written my father that the negroes wished to return 
to their old homes; and my father had requested 
me to attend to the matter if possible. 

Leaving Col. Boynton in command of the brigade, 
I rode up on Lookout and across to the west brow, 
where I found Cummings' Georgia Brigade. From 
there I descended into Lookout Valley by the "Nick- 
ajack Trail": an old road blazed out by one of An- 
drew Jackson's columns. 

It had been two and a half years since I had seen 
my home. Sheridan's Divisions had camped there 
and destroyed the fencing; taking the crops and 
stock. As I rode into Trenton, I saw two old citi- 
zens. Col. Robert Tatum and Milton Gass, watching 

235 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

a signal flag, that was being waved in the "White 
Oak Gap" on Sand Mountain opposite the town/ 

After greetings, they asked me if I knew what 
that flag meant, and said they had heard that morn- 
ing from Bill Gnnter, who was scouting for General 
Bragg, that there was a force of Yanks advancing 
from Bridgeport, Alabama; which had camped on 
Sand Mountain the previous night. While we were 
talking, a Regiment of Cavalry was seen in the 
gap. They wound down the mountain road, and 
then a Battery appeared, halted and planted a gun 
on an open "Bench": and directly a shell came 
shrieking over us. 

I was cut off from going home via the valley road. 
I watched a blue regiment of cavalry until they 
reached the outskirts of the town. 

I then rode out the other way, to the top of Look- 
out Mountain; and passed the night with Gapt. 
Ephriam Rogers' Company, 34th Georgia Regiment, 
Gummings' Brigade. Elisha Majors, of Trenton, 
who was conscript officer, of Dade County, accom- 
panied me. I informed General Gummings of the 
enemy's numbers at Trenton, as reported by our 
scouts, who were in their camp the night before on 
Sand Mountain. I wanted him to slip down to 
Trenton and surprise them that night; as we knew 
the country well. He flagged General Bragg about 
it, but did not get permission, so the next morning 
my friend Majors, and myself went south on Look- 
out Mountain and dropped off at Johnson's Crook. 
We parted that night at Rising Fawn, where he 
stopped with old Squire Alex. Hanna. I went on 
two miles further, to my farm. 

Dr. McGufTey, who was living in my house to 
take care of things, with the privilege of all he could 
harvest from the large farm, had retired when T 
hailed him from the gate. He came out with fear 
and trembling, thinldng it might be Capt. Jno. 
Long's "Union Home Guards" (so called) from Ala- 
barpa, on a plundering expedition. He had a feel- 

236 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ; MISSIONARY RIDGE 

ing recolection of a previous visit they had made 
him. He was much reUeved when I told him who 
it was, but was a doubting Thomas, until we got to 
the light. He and his family gave me a hearty wel- 
come and we talked till late in the night: He tell- 
ing me much that had happened there, and I re- 
counting my adventures for two years and a half. 
The next morning early I went out to the "Quar- 
ter" and there I met "Uncle Daniel", the "bell 
weather" of my colored flock. He was a tall, mid- 
dle-aged, dignified, ebony man, who clung to, and 
gloried in the Wingfield patronymic, (as he had 
come to me from my Grandfather Wingfleld's es- 
tate), and in the fact that he had "heard a call to 
preach." So he never failed to impress his hearers, 
with much zeal and conviction, that "Gwine under 
the water was the only plan of salvation." His 
"calling" always elevated a slave in the eyes of his 
fellow blacks. "Howdy Uncle Daniel," said I, 
"how's everything going here?" "Mighty bad, 
mighty bad, Marse Cooper; but the niggers is all 
here ; cep'n Emma. She went off wid a Yankee offi- 
cer, the, trifling hussy! I didn't think she'd a done 
pulled de old Ferginny name down dat-er-way! 
Dey tried to git all on us to go wid 'em. Said dey- 
was lantropists , and wanted to help "de poor down- 
trodden slave." Dey'swuaded powerfully; but finally, 
I list up and told 'em dar want nothing-down- 
trodden round here; cept'n our fine gyardins and 
fields; whar dey traps erround gittin de sass and 
truck; en-a-digging every whar dem "Crackers" 
told em we'd done hid de smokehouse meat, and de 
silver. Fd hid hit, one night, in a deep holler on de 
side of Fox Mountain; jist as Miss Frances told me 
to. Dey never found hit. I knowed dem onnery 
Buckra dat come around here wid 'em. Two er — 
dem went off wid you to Ferginny, and den lef ' you ! 
Now comin' round here, wid a long blue-tail coat 
on! Dey'es wusser den ginnerwine Yankees er 
Dutch; "pertending to be "home gyards". Much 

237 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

dey Imows bout "de Union"; hits meat an stuff, deys 
arter!" 

Before the old negro had deUvered himself of his 
long invective, the other negroes had assembled. I 
told them I heard they wanted to go back to middle 
Georgia, and that I had come to help about trans- 
portation to Rome, and then to Macon by rail. "Yes, 
sir," they said, "we wants to git out'n all dis fuss 
and carryings on, We's afeard de next time dey 
come, dey'l make us go wid um; dey wants to lift 
"US up so bad!" 

I said, "Daniel, I'll go over to the Hazelhurst Place 
to make arrangements; there are lots of Yankees 
in the Valley; if any come round here, you let me 
know.' (Emma the mulatto house-maid, men- 
itoned, who went away with the philanthropist 
when Sheridan's Corps moved across Lookout 
Mountain to Ghickamauga, turned up in "Mahog- 
any Hall" (a bagnio) in Chattanooga. There she 
died. She had decency enough left, to keep herself 
away from Macon, and our other, and respectable, 
negroes.) I rode over to the Hazelhurst farm to see 
the overseer about getting up wagons to haul the 
negroes' luggage to Rome, and made arrangements 
with him to accompany them and get tickets to 
Macon. After that I sat down to Mrs. Grayson's 
big dinner, "Chicken-fixings and flour-doings." 
Pies! Custards! Jams and Jellies! "Everything 
was sot handy" and I was enjoying it, too, when 
the old Negro came running up shouting, "Mars 
Cooper! Mars Cooper! git away from here! de 
road over at our house is blue wid Yankees and 
deys axin' fer you." I went on with my dinner. At 
length I said, "Uncle Daniel you stand on that high 
point in the field, and watch until I fmish this good 
dinner. If you see them coming, wave your hand." 
In much trepidation he watched, but they didn't 
come. Upon consideration, Grayson and I decided 
it would be too risky to move the negroes. We 
heard the reports of artillery not two miles away, 

238 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ; MISSIONARY RIDGE 

and I was satisfied it was a flanking movement 
against Bragg's position at Chattanooga and that I 
had better get back to my command. 

That afternoon went up on Looliout Moun- 
tain by the "three-notch trail. The three notches 
were cut on the trees by a column of An- 
drew Jackson's men as they marched to the battle 
of the "Horseshoe." I rode out on top to a small 
house on the road. It was getting late, I asked to, 
stop for the night, and was told by a girl, I could 
not. She said, "Pap is sick, and we haint but one 
room, and nairy thing to feed you-uns, er yer nag." 
However, I was dismounted before she got through 
telling me about all of their inconveniences, and 
was walking in. I carried my sword and 44 Colts', 
and was in full uniform. In a bed lay "Pap," a 
typical "cracker," shaking and groaning terribly. 
I said, "Old man what's the matter?" He answered, 
"Mr. I've got a chill." I said, it's mighty queer to 
be having chills on top of Lookout Mountain in No- 
vember." Then I added, "I tell you folks, I just 
want to sit by the fire and nod, until day-break; 
and then I am going on to my Regiment, at Chat- 
tanooga. I am a regular Confederate soldier and 
don't bother citizens." 

I saw the sign was right, so I sat down between 
two plump girls, and soon we were carrying on a 
lively conversation. I stopped long enough to lead 
my mare around to a field in the rear, so that if' 
necessary I could go out of the back door, and 
ride away in the dark, through the field to the 
woods beyond. 

The old Mother felt so much reassured, she in- 
sisted on getting me some supper, which I declined, 
and the old man quit groaning, and everything was 
going on peacefully, when we heard a voice at 
the front gate. This brought the old man's "chill" 
on him again. I let go the girls' hands and went 
to the door, and opened it a little. I said, "What do 
you want?" The man answered "I want to stay 

239 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

all night." I advised him to go on to the next house," 
"fernent the Little River ford;" he begged to stay. 
I said, "We haint no room." In the meantime I 
discovered that it was Majors, the man I had parted 
with the night before. I said to the family, •'Thi«5 
man is a peaceful citizen. I am willing to share 
my blanket with him." They said, "Well then, tell 
him to come in." 

He was surprised to And me there, as I was 
to see him. The girls made our pallet on the floor, 
and we were about to retire, when the sound of 
many horses' feet were heard, coming down the 
road. They halted. Our host commenced to groan; 
the Lookout Mountain Malaria had struck him 
again! I went to the door. There were about forty 
men, wanting to gtop and get entertainment for 
"man and ,beast," I could not tell whether they 
were Yanks or Rebs, as, still personating the crack- 
er, I peeped through the crack of the door. I re- 
peated the same old tale. "Pap was sick and we had 
but one room, and no feed." One feller said, "You 
talk mighty smart, we will stop any how." Another 
called out, "Any Y^^nks about here?" I said, "Yes 
sir, lots of em, thars a ridgement of em camped 
just beyant the field." Then they consulted and 
asked, "How far to Alpine.?" I told them ten 
miles. As they started I asked, "What command 
do you belong to?" They answered: "9th Kentucky 
Cavalry Battalion" (G. S. A.). It was the firing I 
heard in the afternoon down in "Johnson's Crook," 
that drove them up on the Mountain. After the 
departure of the "buttermilk rangers" we had a 
peaceful sleep. 

Next morning, I set out to rejoin my command. 

I knew the Mountain well. I traveled the road 
north, that General McCook had cut, when he made 
,his , hurried iparch from Alpine, Alabama, to join 
Rosecrans at Chickamauga. General Bragg could 
have destroyed McCook's Corps at Alpine, or when 
on that march, and then turned upon the balance 

240 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ; MISSIONARY RIDGE 

of Rosecran's Army. As I traveled, "ruminating" 
about all these, things, it occurred to me that may- 
be the enemy after driving the 9th Kentucky Cav- 
alry out of Johnson's Crook, had advanced to the 
top of Lookout, pushed across the plateau and oc- 
cupied the Gaps on East brow; so I concluded it 
was safest for me to leave the top. 

I took a bridle path leading down into McLe- 
more's Cove, opposite Cedar Grove, and pressed on 
to my camp by the Valley road. It was well I did 
drop into the valley, for when I reached "Bailey's 
Cross-Roads," a point opposite Stevens Gap, the 4th 
Tennessee Cavalry was skirmishing with the 
enemy. I reached camp that night. General U. S. 
Grant had taken command of the Union Army at 
Chattanooga; and we heard that he was receiving 
large reinforcements by way of Bridgeport, Ala. 

The next day, Col. Hamilton and myself rode up 
from our camp at St. Elmo to Lookout Point. As 
we stood there viewing the surrounding coun- 
try through our field glasses, that beautiful autum- 
nal day, nature seemed to have done her best to 
atone for the sight of grim-visaged war lying be- 
fore us in the Valleys below. 

To the right and east in plain view, was Rose- 
cran's old army in Chattanooga. To the west was 
Hooker's two Corps 11th and 12th, of thirty thou- 
sand (30,000) men combined to form 2bth army 
corps; from the army of the Potomac. Their tents 
dotted the plain about Wauhatchie, like so many 
white swans on a lake. 

, Farther to the north-west could be seen Sher- 
man's Corps, (the Army of the Cumberland") com- 
ing in from Bridgeport to reinforce Grant's already 
plethoric army. It wound its way, an endless blue 
python, across the Tennessee at Brown's Ferry, un- 
til lost to view behind Cameron's Hill. 

Beside this great display of force, lay Bragg's lit- 
tle army of investment. My God! what a dispar- 
ify! What a commentary on our generalship! 

241 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Where were the glories hard won at Ghickamauga? 
Where were the fruits of victory? Longstreet's 
corps was on its way to Knoxville; and so was 
Cleburnes' division. Forrest had moved into mid- 
dle Tennessee. 

The Brown's Ferry road had been seized by the 
Federals. Their wagontrains, loaded with sup- 
plies, could be seen winding along as far as the 
eye could reach. 

Hardee's and Stewart's corps were squatting 
down in the mud of Chattanooga valley, waiting (I 
suppose ") for something to turn up. It did not take 
a military genius to see that something was going 
to happen "soon. Walthall's depleted brigade of 
Mississippians, fifteen hundred (1500) strong, were 
just below the palisade we stood upon; posted to 
the West, and around the Graven farm. We had 
a battery of artillery on the point of the Mountain, 
but the enemy's artillery on the South end of 
Stringer's Ridge (20 lb. Parrott's) preponderated 
our'sto such an extent that we were silenced. They 
would occasionally throw a shot up our way, from 
the Parrott's, just as a banter, and to show how 
easily we could be reached and how little they cared 
what we could do. 

Our artillerists were lying idly behind protec- 
tions. One of them said, "Colonel, you had bet- 
ter lookout, a sharpshooter will get you." We 
moved and stood beside a big rock. Way down in 
the valley to the West, a mile and a half or more, 
as the crow flies, we saw a puff of smoke; we 
stooped behind the rock, the sharpshooter's bullet 
went whistling over us. He was a clever marks- 
man, and deserved another chance. We stood up 
and gave him another shot from his Whitworth, 
again stooping behind our rock at the flash of 
his rifle. In silence we wended our way dovm the 
mountain to our camp. 

Bragg had frittered awaij his opportuiiities by 
non-action. 

242 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ; MISSIONARY RIDGE 

Generals N. B. Forrest and Longstreet held a con- 
ference, immediately after Genl. Thomas had been 
forced to evacuate the breastworks on "Snodgrass 
Hill," and was in full retreat on Rossville. For- 
rest proposed to pursue vigorously and at once, 
and with Longstreet's aid go right into Chattanooga, 
where it was reported the Union army was ar- 
riving in a very disorganized condition, most of 
them without arms. 

Longstreet approved and said he would march 
to the left by the Chattanooga Valley road. If that 
movement had been made, Longstreet would have 
swept away Wilder's and Minty's cavalry and Post'3 
brigade that were West of Chattanooga creek. 

The demoralization of Rosecran's force in Chat- 
tanooga that night was complete. I have been told 
by officers and men of that army, who have lived 
in Chattanooga since the war, that if Longstreet 
and Forrest had followed them in that night there 
would have been but IHtle, if any resistance! 

Of course, it was proposed that the Army of Ten- 
nessee would advance against Rossville and make 
demonstration sufficient to hold Thomas there, or 
if he started to Chattanooga, follow and attack him. 

Van Horn's "Army of the Cumberland" says: 
"During the night Genl. Thomas formed a new line 
at Rossville. There was need to check the advance 
of the enemy. The line extended from Rossville 
Gap to Chattanooga Creek. The position was strong 
against direct attack, but could be easily turned by 
a heavy concentration against the right in Chat- 
anooga valley, and Genl. Thomas advised Rosecrans 
to withdraw his army to Chattanooga." 

After Bragg had neglected to follow closely the 
defeated enemy into Chattanooga that Sunday night 
"Sept. 20th," then the next plan to reap the fruits 
of victory, was to cut off the supplies of Rosecrans' 
army in Ghattanoooga. He should have seized the 
river and roads from Stevenson to Chattanooga, 
fortifying the strongest positions, Bridgeport, 

243 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Brown's Ferry, etc. His troops there, could have 
been fed from Sequatchie Valley and the river coun- 
try. 

In the meantime Bragg should have been suc- 
ceeded by a competent general and his army rein- 
forced by the armies of Polk and Beauregard from 
Charleston, Savannah, Mobile and Mississippi; the 
lino of investment being strongly fortified. The Con- 
federate government had all the resources needed, 
except brains. I have been told by an ofTicer of 
Forrest's staff that Genl. Bragg came up during 
the aforementioned conference and disapproved of 
the suggested movement. He seemed unable to real- 
ize that a great victory had been won. Forrest ex- 
claimed with much heat, "By G-d Genl. Bragg, you 
are the first commander whose army ever gained a 
Hctory [and every private soldier knows it!) with- 
out the commander ever finding it out." In his 
chagrin at being stopped just at the crucial moment, 
he said more; which can't be written, "It was For- 
rest's way." 

Forrest"^ proposed to ride that night to Bridgeport, 
seize the road, and starve the Federals out. But 
Bragg forbade. He preferred trying to starve the 
enemy in Chattanooga by besieging him on the 
side whence he could not draw supplies, and leav- 
ing his base of supplies open. 

The Federal general Merritt, an officer of ability, 
who command'ed Carlin's brigade, Palmer's divi- 
sion, 4th. army corps, (they were my brigade vis- 
a-vis on the picket line, along Chattanooga creek) 
delivered an address recently on the occasion of 
the unveiling of the New York monument in the 
government park on the North point of Lookout 
Mountain. 

He said: "The question of supplies was very 
serious with the army in Chattanooga until the 
opening of the w^agon road via Brown's Ferry." 
"It would be difficult to exaggerate," said Cent. Mer- 
ritt at another juncture, "the condition of affairs in 

244 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ; MISSIONARY RIDGE 

Chattanooga prior to the seizure of Brown's Ferry 
on Oct 27th. by the force that floated down the 
river at night. As the enemy had control of the 
river, and the roads that ran along it, everything 
we consumed was brought in wagons over almost 
impassable roads for sixty miles. The result was 
inevitable, and my recollection is, that by Oct. 15th. 
our ration had been reduced to three-fourths; by 
the 20th. to one-half, and after that and until the 
"Cracker line" was opened, it was practically a 
:scramble for anything we could get. 

Genl. Thomas, when placed in command, had 
telegraphed to Genl Grant that, "We will hold the 
place until we starve," and with rations down to the 
vanishing point and with our horses and mules 
dead or dying by hundreds, it looked at one time 
as though that test would come." 

To resume: The next day Gen. Hooker, under 
the cover of a dense fog, advanced from Wauhatch- 
ie with twenty thousand men, crossed Lookout 
Creek and climbed the mountain side; his lines ex- 
tending from the base of the Mountain at the Ten- 
Jiesseeriver, to the West blufT of the mountain. They 
met with but little opposition until, advancing along 
the side they reached the Graven House. There 
Walthall had rallied his fifteen hundred men and 
formed them in line. The enemy were approaching 
from tree to tree, from boulder to boulder, firing as 
they came up. 

A dense cloud had settled on the side of the 
mountain : so dense, a man could not be seen twen- 
ty steps away. From behind their protections Walt- 
hall's men fired at the flash of the enemy's guns. 
But Hooker's men, between Walthall and the bluff, 
having no opposition, pushed on: and from below 
the Cravens House the advance proceeded. 

Walthall finding that he was surrounded, ordered 
a retreat. In falling back in the dark, a good many 
of his men were captured: but there were very few 
casualties on either side, for the reason I have given. 

17 245 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

In the meantime the Federal batteries across the 
river were keping up a terrific fusilade. My tents 
drew their fire. The inference was that they must 
be the headquarters of some "Big General." They 
were. a target. -Most of their shots were directed 
at my regiment and battalion. I was eating din- 
ner when one of their shells, bursting overhead, 
came crashing down right on our camp chest; 
sending, our dishes and dinner "hell-west-and-wind- 
ing." This was more than our veteran negro ser- 
vants, Joe and Isaac, could stand. Forgetting the 
glories of their Virginia campaigns, they started to 
run. Hamilton called out: "Joe, you dam-black- 
rascal, stop! Stop right there! and bring our horses.," 
They whipped around to the stable and got the 
horses, but looked sheepish. We mounted and gal- 
loped up to the top of the hill, where the Captains 
and Lieutenants were forming their Companies. We 
ordered them to form behind the hill and lie down. 

Just then a twenty pound Parrott shell entered 
the ground under my mare, and exploded. There 
was enough earth between the shell and the mare 
to save us, but as we rose up and came down in 
the debris, I thought my mare was wounded. I 
heard one of the men say "Calonel Nisbet is killed." 
However, the mare crawled out unhurt; and I 
spurred her down the line. She was a beautiful^ 
thorough-bred, the finest in the army. She looked 
across the river, pricked up her ears, with eyes 
dilated, and gave a snort, as if she realized whence 
came the danger. I was so glad she was not hurt 
that I did not think about myself. 

My Brigade pickets were posted along Chatta- 
nooga Greek; the enemy made no attempt to ad- 
vance there, so we were not engaged with small 
arms. 

Stevenson's Division evacuated the Mountain that 
night, and the next morning "Old Glory" could 
be seen floating from the Point, said to have been 
hoisted by men of a New York Regiment, who 

246 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ; MISSIONARY RIDGE 

climbed up the bluff, after the Confederates had 
gone. 

The state of New York has erected a fine monu- 
ment on the Point of Lookout to commemorate the 
exploit, and other states have erected monuments 
to their Regiments around the Graven House, which, 
with the Point, is now a National Park. 

The taking of the North end of Lookout Moun- 
tain, by General Hooker's Gorps, was an event that 
created great enthusiasm in the Union Army, and 
its moral effect on them was of great value, al- 
though the possession of Lookout Point had no 
strategic importance. At the time the illustrated 
papers of the North made the most of it by show- 
ing Hooker's men fighting desperately, hand to 
hand, with the Gonfederates, above the clouds, cre- 
ating the impression there, that it was one of the 
greatest conflict of the war, and the greatest 
achievement of the Union arms. An impression 
that, I find, still prevails to a great extent. We did 
not think that the capture of Lookout Mountain 
was a surprise to General Bragg. He and his Gen- 
erals had decided that the Lookout Mountain line 
was not defensible, after General Grant had re- 
ceived such large reinforcements: and Bragg had 
commenced to withdraw, to a new line along the 
crest of Missionary Ridge, extending from Ross- 
ville Gap, to a point beyond the East Tennessee 
Railroad. 

General Merritt, in the speech alluded to, said: 
"The next morning after the fight on the moun- 
tain, finding the Confederates had disappeared from 
my front, I advanced my Brigade across Chatta- 
nooga Creek and on up Lookout Mountain to the 
top, where we found the men of Hooker's Gorps." 

The conception of moving upon an unknown 
force located in such a strong-Tiold was bold and 
most creditable to the high soldierly qualities of 
General Hooker, and the gallant men who moved 
at his command through the fogs and up the steeps* 

247 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

where gorge and jutting cliffs made as formidama- 
ble barriers as those which opposed the American 
soldiers at Ghapultepec. 

II has been reported that General Grant said, "the 
battle 'above the clouds' is a myth." May be so, 
as to a great battle, but the conception and the 
charge of Hooker, and capture of Lookout Moun- 
tain, was one of that great soldier's most brilliant 
achievements. Major General Hooker, at any rate, 
received his promotion of Brevet Major General in 
the Regular Army, dating from his exploit, which, 
however, had been well earned before in the many 
conflicts of the Army of the Potomac. He was a 
picturesque figure in the great conflict: an able 
General who well earned his fighting soubriquet 
of "Fighting Joe." He was a man of handsome 
physique, and said to be of great personal magne- 
tism. Born at Hadley, Massachusetts, November 
13th. 1814. Graduated at West Point 1837, served 
in Mexico 1846 and 47, and rose to the rank of 
Brevet Lieutenant Colonel. Was appointed Briga- 
dier in 1861, Major General May, 1862, 2nd Division 
Army Potomac, was wounded at Anteitam, com- 
manded Army Potomac at Ghancellorsville, where 
he was defeated, and resigned. Afterwards was re- 
instated, and put in command 20th Army Corps at 
Chattanooga. 

I have digressed to offer this tribute to a sol- 
dier who made war like a Knight. General Hooker 
died at Garden City, Long Island, October 31, 1897, 
with the full rank of Major General in the Regular 
Army. 

That night, after the mountain fight, I was or- 
dered to withdraw my Brigade (Wilson's) quietly 
from the enemy's front on Chattanooga Creek, and 
join the rest of the Division in a march across the 
Valley to a point now known as Ridgedale, Fergur- 
son's Battery of six twelve-pound Napoleon guns, 
attached to our Brigade, had to be dragged up on 
Missionary Ridge. 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ; MISSIONARY RIDGE 

Lieutenant Beauregard, commanding the Artil- 
lery Company, reported that his horses were too 
weak to pull the guns up. I detailed a Company 
of Infantry with each piece; some of the men 
pushed, others pulled, using ropes, and at last we 
were all on top. 

When we reached the crest, it was still dark. We 
moved to the right, slowly, over a dim, wood-road. 
At several points we had to make a road for the 
artillery. Not long before daylight, we arrived af 
our position in the new line, whch was near, and 
to the left of the tunnel, where the railroad from 
Chattanooga to Knoxville passes under Missionary 
Ridge. General Gist, commanding Walker's Divi- 
sion — (General Walker was wounded at Chicka- 
mauga, had returned, but not to the command of 
his Division) — and myself, assisted Lieutenant Beau- 
regard in posting his guns on a high point in our 
rear, so that they could fire over our line of Infan- 
try. 

The Confederate line extended along the Ridge 
from a point opposite Boyce Station to Rossville 
Gap, as the United States Government Boulevard 
now runs. 

The arrangement was that Stevenson's Division 
should touch Gleburn's Division, which was just 
to the right of the tunnel, and the right of Walk- 
er's Division touch on Stevenson's left, but it 
was found that even after much space had been al- 
lowed between the men, the line was not completely 
occupied. There was a gap right over the tunnel. 

I was ordered to fill it with one of my Regi- 
ments. I detached from the Brigade my own Regi- 
ment, (the 66th Georgia), and the 26th Georgia 
Battalion for this purpose. As the movements of 
the enemy seemed to be against this point, I re- 
mained here most of the day. 

At daylight, November 25th, 63, I saw the enemy 
approaching in line of battle below us through the 
Glass farm; (now Sherman Heights). I rode up to 

249 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

my battery, and ordered Lieutenant Beauregard to 
commence firing; he asked, "Have you an order 
to that effect?" I said, "Commence firing Lieuten- 
ant; what we see, is order enough for me." He 
opened with six pieces, and Captain Evan Howell, 
whose Battery was there, also commenced firing. 
The enemy in my immediate front halted at Rail- 
road, foot of Ridge, and many went into Tunnel. 
Brobeck's Brigade was advancing against the Regi- 
ment on my right, just beyond the tunnel. 1 rode 
over there to see who they were, and to tell them 
lo be ready. I found that it was the 39th Georgia 
Regiment of Cummings, (Ga.) Brigade; and in it 
was Colonel Jas W. Cureton's Company from Dade 
Co.; commanded by Capt, Seaborn Daniels, a very 
brave officer. Some of the men broke ranks and 
came to where I was sitting on my horse. We shook 
hands. It was the first time we had met in two 
and a half years. They thought I was still in Vir- 
ginia. I told them that my Regiment was on their 
left, and that my Battery was firing on the Regi- 
ments approaching. I ordered them to get into line 
and be ready to receive the enemy, who would 
soon be on the spot. This was done. We repulsed 
several charges of Brobeck's Brigade, with the help 
of Beauregard's and Howell's Batteries. 

A part of the 39th Georgia, led by Captain Sea- 
born Daniels, finally charged down the ridge and 
captured a good many prisoners in the Glass house. 
But they were ordered back to the top of the ridge. 
In the meantime, Gleburn's Division— attacked on 
two sides — was fighting fiercely, still further to the 
right, defeating his assailants with great slaughter, 
and driving them off the ridge ! — with the assistance 
of Cumming's Georgia Brigade, who went to them 
as reinforcements, and who made a gallant and 
successful charge; But not unattended with misfor- 
tune. Col. Joe McConnel, of the 39th Georgia (Ring- 
gold), was killed. His body was brought back on 
a litter, passing by where I was sitting on my mare 

250 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ; MISSIONARY RIDGE 

watching the Federal Regiments, which had started 
up against my Regiment. These Regiments reacti- 
ed the mouth of the tunnel, but halted; and 1 sup- 
pose decided the ascent was too steep to accom- 
plish their undertaking, and that the mouth ol' the 
tunnel was mighty tempting shelter from onr can- 
nister; which was a fact. Now for another fact I 
With mv flanks protected, the ascent of Mission- 
ary Ridge was too steep anywhere, for any regi- 
ment, in" any army, to have taken the position from 
my Regiment; or any other well organized Com- 
mand. We could have repulsed them with stones. 
The Yanks, not venturing up, my Brigade and Di- 
vision were not severely engaged with small arms. 
Our artillerv and skirmishes were hotly engaged 
from daylight until about 12 o'clock M. 

The Army of the Cumberland having failed after 
repeated assaults to turn Bragg's right wing, about 
noon General Grant moved Sherman's Corps to the 
right, reinforcing his center. In the aflernoon Gen- 
eral Sheridan, and others charged Bragg's Center. 
Two Confederate brigades there acted disgracefully, 
running away on the approach of the enemy; then 
refused to be rallied on top of Ridge. This exposed 
the flanks of some good Brigades, who, after fight- 
ing gallantly, had to retire. 

In trying to stop the stampeded men, Bragg came 
very near being captured, and it was regretted by 
Confederates that he escaped. 

In the meantime Osterhaus's Division, of the 
Hooker Corps, from Lookout Mountain, after being 
delayed two hours at Chattanooga Creek repairing 
a bridge, passed through Rossville Gap, -without se- 
rious opposition. I am told that some of them 
struck the 42nd Georgia Regiment, who were post- 
ed south of the Gap, and that the 42nd Georgia, 
as usual, did good fighting; driving back the en- 
emy that charged their front; but they had to retire 
with the rest of the army. 

251 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

When Osterhaiis established his batteries in the 
rear, they demoraUzed Bragg's left wing. I had 
often seen the effects of that movement on the en- 
emy, when I was with Stonewall Jackson. 

The United States Government has constructed a 
well graded macadam road, along the line Bragg's 
army!^ occupied on Missionary Ridge, running from 
opposite Boyce Station to Rossville Gap, where it 
connects with the Government Boulevard leading 
to Ghickamauga Park. 

Tablets denote the position of each brigade; upon 
which appears the names of the Brigade command- 
ers, the Regiments and their Commanders. My Bri- 
gade tablet stands one-fourth mile to right of the 
Southern Railroad tunnel over Sherman Heights. 

Northern States, whose Regiments were engaged 
in the battle of Missionary Ridge, have erected mon- 
uments along this Government road, on which is 
mentioned the number of casualties sustained;, 
which are very few, in some instances, only one 
or two. This fact is good evidence that there was 
little hard fighting in the battle of Missionary 
Ridge. 

Federal soldiers, who were in the charge that 
captured Bragg's headquarters, have informed me 
since the war, that they could see the Confeder- 
ates there running away before they got half way 
up. One fellow, who was one of the "runners," a 
"Yellow-hammer," when asked why he ran, jok- 
ingly said: "We could see too much; when we saw 
the number of lines coming up against us, we got 
demoralized. Why I heard General Grant give the 
order. "Attention world! by nations right wheel 
into line, forward, chargeV and then T thought it 
was time for me to git, "and hunt the tall timber." 
When darkness came on, and everything was quief 
about the Timnel, except an occasional shot on the 
picket Tine down on the Glass farm, my men wanted 
to get supper, as they had eaten nothing during the 
day. I was waiting orders from General Gist, 

252 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ; MISSIONARY RIDGE 

whom I had not seen for several hours, supposing 
everything had gone well all along the line, as it 
had with us, and expecting to renew the battle the 
next morning, 

I consented that the men should build fires, and 
get supper, and soon the captured coffee was boil- 
ing in the camp-kettles, and the meat frying in 
the pans. 

1 had ridden up to Beauregard's battery and was 
talldng to him. It was getting dark. We saw some 
horsemen coming from the left. They halted. One 
of them asked, "What Brigade is this?" Then he 
called out: "Is Colonel Nisbet there?" I answered 
and rode down to where he was. I found it was 
General Pat Cleburn. He said: "Colonel Nisbet, 
what about these fires?" I replied, "I have given 
the men permission to prepare some food, as they 
have not eaten anything during the day." He then 
informed me of what had happened at Bragg's 
Headquarters, and that the enemy was on the ridge ; 
and if the line formed across the ridge should give 
way, the Yanks would swoop down on us. He said, 
'Have you no orders? Where's General Gist?" I 
said, " I have received no orders; I don't know 
where General Gist is." 

"Well;" said he, "the whole army is in retreat. 
I give you orders to withdraw your Brigade and 
Baltery to Ghiclvamauga Station, W. & A. Railroad; 
there you will find rations in the depot." The Gen- 
eral and staff rode off to look after their own Di- 
vision. 

As soon as I found the men had got something 
to eat, I issued orders to the Regiments to prepare 
to march. Young Beauregard was much worried. 
Said he did not know of any road to get off the 
ridge; that his old, poor horses could hardly stand 
up on level ground, and that he was going to lose 
his fine guns (six 12 lb. Napoleons, that had been 
captured at Chickamauga.) In fact he was so much 
troubled the tears came in his eyes. 

253 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

I said to him, " I will stand by you; I have some 
men hunting for torch-pine. We will have torches 
soon. I will keep my own Regiment with your 
battery." Told him to get ready to move. 

In the meantime I ordered the senior ofTicer to 
march the Brigade to Ghickamauga Station, stack 
arms and wait . 

The men came with the torches and soon report- 
ed they had found a "sorter-of-a little, old, blind 
wood-road," going down the east side of the ridge. 
I detailed a company to go with each gun; with- 
orders to lock all the wheels with ropes or chains, 
and to hold the carriages back by hand ofT the fee- 
ble horses. 

A sleety rain was falling, as we started. "Now," I 
said, "We are aU right; if the Yanks don't advance 
and capture "the whole shooting match." The boy 
Captain Beauregard, got in better spirits when we 
arrived safely at the foot of the ridge. 

But there we found a muddy branch. The six 
horses drawing the first gun, were driven in, but 
after making one or two pulls, laid down, and all 
the profanity and beating of their drivers could not 
move them. I ordered Captain Tom Langston 
(Company "C" from Atlanta) to wade in with his 
company, and set the horses up on their pins, and 
to push them and the gun out; and continue to 
push until they got to the top of the hill. This they 
did. From there, wih a descending grade, the 
horses went in a gallop to the station. With each 
gun, a company was detailed to help them across 
the branch. 

It is wonderful what eighty-five or ninety men 
can, accomplish when "they put their shoulders to 
the wheel." The rest of the brigade had marched 
down the ridge to the Railroad, and on to the sta- 
tion where they were waiting for us. 

Our pickets were left at the foot of the ridge on 
Glass farm, with orders to the officer in charge to 
keep up a brisk firing, and at four o'clock A. M. 

254 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ; MISSIONARY RIDGE 

quietly to fall back; which they did, unperceived, 
and joined us at the station. The cavalry pickets 
taking their places. 

There was no better soldier, than Captain Thomas 
Langston. He continued to serve faithfully and 
well, until the surrender. After the war he was a 
wholesale Grocery Merchant of Atlanta. 

Speaking of this incident, he said : "Wading into 
that muddy creek, that cold winter night, waist 
deep, was the hardest order to obey I ever received!" 

At Ghickamauga station I ordered the regimen- 
tal commanders to draw rations for their men out 
of the depot. As it was a grab game, I got some 
candles and stood on a barrel to see that my Bri- 
gade got all they could. Sides of meat were strung 
on the bayonets, and sacks of hard-tack were pack- 
ed out, and distributed; but the men wanted syrup; 
and 'twas too thick to go in their canteens. 

They knocked the head of a sorghum barrel in, 
and scooped syrup in their hats. Soon the barrel 
was half emptied; and they had to lean over to 
reach it. Some people will joke even at a funeral. 
There was a devilish fellow who would watch his 
chance and kick their feet from under those who (in 
turn) bent over the barrel. Down they would go 
in the sticky, saccharine fluid in the barrel. Then 
all hands would jerk the poor fellow out. All drip- 
ping with sweetness; When the fellow got out of 
the depot, the soldiers would "sop" on him; he was 
very popular! 

That barrel gave out, and then another barrel- 
head was knocked in, and contents half emptied — 
when the kicking, and jerking out, continued. But 
alas ; alack a day ! This was soft soap ! so when that 
kind of a fellow got out, and the "sopping" com- 
menced, there was a howl of indignation. 

My brigade marched into this station in good 
order, was halted, came to a front and stacked 
arras; but we found most of Bragg's army, already 
there, a howling mob. They had set fire to an 

255 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

empty wooden storehouse, whose lurid flames illu- 
minated the country for miles around. 

After two and a half years' service in Virginia, 
this was my first experience of the demoralization 
of defeat. 

At daylight, our pickets, having joined us, we 
moved out in good order; through the motley 
throng; halted and waited for the last of the mob 
to pass by. I had been ordered by General Hardee 
to bring up the rear that day, and to guard the 
wagon-train, which had preceded us. We caught 
up with it at a branch (between Ghickamauga Sta- 
tion and Graysville) hopelessly stuck in the mud. 

Brig. Genl. George Maney's Brigade, of Cheat- 
ham's Division, had similar instructions as to the 
artillery, which was also bogged up. 

The enemy was following us closely, driving our 
cavalry back. In the afternoon the Yanks could be 
seen, reconnoitering from the distant hills. It was 
evident that some fighting had to be done there. 

I was having the road "corduroyed" with pine 
poles. General Hardee came up, and said, "Colonel, 
you must send the wagons to Ringgold by the left- 
hand road, as soon as you get them all over the 
branch. General Maney will take the right-hand 
fork passing Graysville, with the artillery." He 
said, "The Brigade that gets its teams over last, has 
to fight; the other brigade must go on to guard 
the train." Just as my last wagon was passing 
around the hill, I saw Maney draw up his Tennes- 
seans in line, to receive a brigade of blue-coats who 
were advancing in line of battle across the oppo- 
site field. General Maney had just got his last can- 
non over the branch, and on the road. He waited 
until the Yanks' line was broken in crossing the 
branch. Then he charged : driving them back. But 
Maney was brought to my camp at Ringgold, that 
night, severely wounded. He got well; served 
through the war: and after, was a prominent at- 
torney at Nashville. He was a Mexican war vet- 

255 



LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN ; MISSIONARY RIDGE 

eran and entered the Confederate service as a Colo- 
nel of the First Tennessee Infantry. He died not 
long since in Washington City; at the ripe age 
of eighty years. 

All the time I was in command of the brigade, 
the 66th Georgia was commanded by Lieutenant 
Colonel Hamilton ; efficiently and well. I regret that 
I cannot particularize as to his movements. We were 
much together in the camp and on the march. My 
iown movements and orders were usually made 
after consultation with him; for I relied implicitly 
upon his judgment. 

Gen. Grant's plan of campaign, was that Sher- 
man's corps should cross the Tennessee River at 
the mouth of Chickamauga Creek, and turn Bragg's 
right, which was done ; but before Sherman got 
across the W. & A. Railroad (the objective point 
of the movement) his brigades found the "Wizzard 
of War," Pat Cleburn, in their path, Cleburn smote 
them "hip and thigh" with great slaughter; al- 
though they displayed much courage and valor. 

After Sherman's failure, and about noon, Grant 
ordered Sherman's corps to reinforce the center, 
and Sheridan to mass his troops. The whole line 
then and there charged the ridge. Sheridan having 
broken the center, the Army of Tennessee was in 
retreat, before Hooker could cut them off. That our 
center did give way promptly, was fortuitous. "If 
we had not been quickly ruined, we would not 
have been saved." A saving Polybius records as 
expressing the sentiments of the Greeks, when over- 
run bv the Romans under Sulla. 



2S7 



'• . XXIII. 

1 ,. 

RINGGOLD AND DALTON. 

We enjoyed a good nights rest at Ringgold; but 
the enemy was pressing in on us, with large bod- 
ies of infantry. It was decided that the victorious 
enemy had to be checked, or we would lose our 
wagons and artillery. The demoralized divisions 
were allowed to pass on in retreat. 

Cleburne's Division was posted in Ringgold Gap, 
with two guns of Gapt. Semple's Battery masked in 
the road, and "Walker's Division behind the hill, in 
support. On came Osterhaus' Division; the same 
one which had passed through Rossville Gap, and 
got in the rear; and had so much fun with our left 
wing, at Missionary Ridge. 

Geary's Division followed and Gruft's Division 
brought up the rear. Hooker attacked Cleburne at 
Ringgold with three divisions as named. This fight 
took place November 27th, 1863. Commenced at 
eight o'clock A. M. and continued for two and a 
half hours. 

Gen. Cleburne's report shows that he had four 
thousand one hundred and fifty-seven men in the 
fight, and that he lost only twenty killed, and one 
hundred and ninety wounded. The loss sustained 
by the Federals fell mostly on Osterhaus' Division, 
which, after losing terribly, fell back in confusion. 

In the engagement the Federals greatly outnum- 
bered Cleburne, but the latter had the advantage of 
position. The two guns of Capt. Semple's Battery 
masked with brush in the public road, did much 
execution. As the enemy retreated, Walker's Divi- 
sion was not needed. In the meantime Genl Grant 

258 



RINGGOLD AND DALTON 

having arrived at Ringgold, ordered a halt in the 
pursuit. 

So we continued our retrograde movement to Dal- 
ton without further molestation — the enemy being 
well satisfied there were some commands in Bragg's 
army who were not demoralized; and must not be 
attacked without due caution. 

Major-General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne was 
born in County, Cork, Ireland, March 17th, 1828. 
Although reared in Ireland, he was a descendant 
of Wm. Cleburne, the Colonial Secretary of Virgi- 
nia in 1628. His mother's family, the Ronaynes, 
were also distinguished. 

Cleburne, after receiving a liberal education, en- 
listed in the British Army and served three years. 
He then came to Amerca. He was admitted to the 
bar and was pracicing his profession successfully 
at the outbreak of the Civil War : at Helena, Arkan- 
sas. 

He was elected Captain of a Company, and soon 
after Colonel of an Arkansas Regiment, March, 
1862, he was mde Brigadier: and Major-General 
after Perryville, 1862 — where he was wounded. He 
received the thanks of the Confederate Congress 
for his defence of Ringgold Gap. At the battle of 
Franklin. Tenn., November, 1864, he was shot from 
his horso and killed: on the second line of the enA 
emy's ivorks. I knew him well: and it is certain 
that as a Division Commander he had no superior. 

"Oh, band in the pine-wood, cease! 

Cease with your splendid call: 
The living are noble and brave, 

But the dead were bravest of all! 
The living are noble and brave, 

But the dead excelled them all!" 

We went into winter quarters three miles from 
Dalton on the Spring Place road. It appears after 
Chickamauga, while the enemy were concentrat- 

259 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

ing their huge army at Chattanooga and making 
that place a veritable Gibraltar, Bragg occupied his 
time quarrelling with his Generals, Polk, Forrest, 
Buckner, D. H. Hill, Hindman and Longstreet. 

The latter went off to Knoxville, and Forrest to 
middle Tennessee. Longstreet writing President Da- 
vis as to Bragg's retention, said: "/ am convinced 
that nothing but the hand of God can save us, or 
help us, as long as we have our present com-^ 
mander." (Bragg). 

All the corps and Division commanders address- 
ed a "Round Robin" letter to President Davis dated 
Oct. 4th, 63. It declared, in part, "Whatever may- 
have been accomplished, it is certain that the fruits 
of victory at Ghickamauga had escaped our grasp. 
The Arniy of Tennessee, stricken with complete 
paralysis will in a few days' time be thrown strict- 
ly on the defensive; and it will be fortunate if it 
escapes without disaster. 

Under the command as it now exists we can give 
you no assurance of success : without assigning the 
reasons we urge that the present commander (Bragg) 
be relieved, because in our opinion the condition 
of his health totally unfits him for the command of 
any army in the field." 

This was signed by D. H. Hill, Polk, Brown, Pres- 
ton. Hindman and others, and supposed to have 
been written by General Buckner^ These differ- 
ences brought Mr. Davis to Bragg's army at Mis- 
sionary Ridge. "He took General Pemberton along 
with him, expecting to make him heir to one of 
the corps whose commander was to be displaced." 

In spite of the Vicksburg campaign, and the uni- 
versal hostility to Pemberton in the army, he still 
enjoyed the confidence of the President. Pember- 
ton failed to get command of a corps, but President 
Davis sustained Bragg against his generals. ''The 
result of the reteyition of Bragg, and the departure^ 
of the generals in ivhom the troops repose their 
confidence, ivas the greatest defeat the Confederi 

260 



RINGGOLD AND DALTON 

ates sustained during the war.". No wonder the 
battle of Missionary Ridge was lost, and although 
it was not a bloody encounter, as compared with 
many other battles, still it was the greaest disaster 
sustained by the Confederate arms in pitched bat- 
tles. 

Nearly one-half of the guns, caissons and mu- 
nitions of Bragg's army was lost; still Bragg was 
retained until the Glamor against him became so 
great that he had to be removed. 

He issued his farewell address to tne army at 
Dalton, December 2nd, 63. After Lieutenant-Gen- 
eral Hardee had commanded for a short time, Gen- 
eral Joseph E. Johnston was appointed, and issued 
to the army this simple address. 

"Dalton, Ga., Dec. 27th, 1863. 
"In obedience to the orders of His Excellency, the 
President, the undersigned has the honor to assume 
command of the Army of Tennessee. 

"J. E. JOHNSTON, 

"General." 
Johnston found his army short of artillery, men 
and morale, but he went energetically to work, to 
build it up. 

His policy had been from the first, to concentrate 
the Confederate forces into one, or at most two 
great armies; and to give up the coast cities, as 
they would be an element of weakness to the en- 
emy; requiring large garrisons. 

Davis believed in holding all our territory possi- 
ble, and antagonized Johnston's military ideas. The 
correspondence on this, between Davis and John- 
ston, continued all winter. It is given in the United 
States Government War Records. There" is a let- 
ter from General Longstreet to the President in 
same volume, endorsing Johnston, dated March 
16th, 64. He suggests that the Mississippi troops, 
Beauregard's, and his own, be sent to reinforce 
Johnston at Dalton. 

Davis refused to comply with the sugestion, but 

18 261 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

instead (having Bragg at Richmond as his mili- 
tary adviser) sent Johnston a plan of campaign. 
A Northern writer says "(Van-Horn's Army of the 
Cumberland)" "To require Johnston to advance 
with less than fifty thousand men, against a com- 
ibnation of armies, which in defense, would great- 
ly exceed one hundred thousand, was to exact de- 
feat. The fact that the Confederate President did 
not discern this, revealed his incapacity as a rev- 
olutionary leader." General Johnston refused to 
advance, but called for more men, especially twelve 
thousand negroes, to serve as teamsters, cooks, and 
pioneer corps: thus to recruit the ranks with that 
many white men. 

His request was refused. Beauregard advised 
Mr. Davis (see Records) that the army at Dalton 
be increased to one hundred thousand (100,000) 
men, even if the defense of Mobile, Savannah and 
Charleston, had to be weakened, and these places 
perhaps lost. That all other operations should be 
subordinated to the defense of Atlanta. 

In the meantime, by strict discipline, and drill, 
and good equipment and rations, confidence was 
restored. Every officer, and private manifested re- 
newed zeal and interest. 

The rank of the Regiments filled up, by the re- 
turn of the sick, and wounded, furloughed men 
and recruits. So that Joe Johnston's army on April 
1st, 64, numbered forty-six (46,000 thousand offi- 
cers and men present for duty, according to his 
official report. It was increased on the campaign 
by Polk's Corps from Mississippi and the Georgia 
Militia to about sixty thousand (60,000) men, Sher- 
man's report shows, that on April 27th, when he 
advanced on Dalton and Resacca, he had ninety- 
eight thousand, seven hundred ninety-one effective 
officers and men, and two hundred and fifty-four 
cannon; and that his aggregate was increased by 
May 31st to one hundred and twelve thousand^ 
eight hundred and nineteen, 

262 



RINGGOLD AND DALTON 

He says, in his "Memoirs" that in the Atlanta 
Campaign he maintained a relative strength to the 
opposing army of two to one, in spite of his great 
losses in battle. I find that he is generally fair in 
his statements as to military operations. 

About this time, while in winter-quarters, Colonel 
Stevens, of the 24th South Carolna Regiment, Gist's 
Brigade, Walker's Division, was promoted Briga- 
dier-General and assigned to the command of our 
brigade. He was a man about sixty (60) years old. 
of splendid physique, well versed by military edu- 
cation and experience, in the art of war; and al- 
though a strict disciplinarian, he soon gained the 
confidence and esteem of his ofTicers and men. He 
was the brother of the General Stevens, who built 
the efficient "Floating battery" which defended 
Charleston. I turned over to him, Brigade Head- 
quarters, and again, assumed the command of my 
Regiment. 

Lt. Col. Hamilton was granted a furlough, and 
went down to his home in Jones County, Georgia, to 
see his good wife, who was managing their planta- 
tion, the "Bowen Place." It is wonderful how the 
Southern women managed those big plantations in 
the heart of the "Cotton Belt," surrounded by 
hordes of black slaves, with nearly every able bodied 
white man absent in the army. It is eloquent of 
our women, and a good record of our negroes. 

It was upon the women, that the greatest burden 
of this horrid war fell. Woman has always been 
a greater sufferer from war than man. She has 
borne that silent anguish of the spirit which is ten- 
fold more terrible to bear, than the anguish of the 
body. While the men were carried away with the 
drunkenness of the war, she dwelt in the stillness 
of her desolated home, and "waited for the letter 
that never came"; or perhaps came to tell her she 
was a widow, or childless. May the movement to 
erect monuments in every Southern State to our 

263 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

heroic Southern women^ carve in marble a memo- 
rial to her cross and passion. 

Napoleon declared to Madame De Stael that "the 
greatest woman in France is the woman w^ho has 
given the most soldiers to my army." 

Napoleon Would have laurelled the Confederate 
Mother! 

I shall ever femember Col. Hamilton's return to 
camp. Besides the pleasure of his delightful so- 
ciety, he brought "dead loads" of good things to eat, 
and a ten gallon keg of fme old scuppernong wine 
to drink, and a little something of the same distilled, 
a product of the Bowen vineyards. He had much 
news from the Pear to tell us, and in his interesting 
talk mentioned' '*As I came up from Atlanta, the 
train was crowded with soldiers returning to the 
army. 1 heard a big racket in the next car, and 
some one said there was about to be a fight. I 
went in there, thinking it might be some of our 
men, I was surprised to see our old friend, former 
Captain Company "E" 21st Georgia, now Colonel 
of the 6th Georgia Cavalry, 'drunk as a Lord' and 
threatening to cleafi tip everybody and everything 
in sight; swearing he was the 'game cock' of 
Wheeler's Cavalry." Said Hamilton, "When we 
organized the 21st Georgia Regiment in Virginia, 
(you Will remember, Nisbet,) he would have his 
company to kneel after roll call, at night, in prayer. 
That was all right, but We thought then he was 
most too good to hold out. War is a severe strain 
on religious habits." 

We afterwards learned that Col. Hart was one of 
General Wheeler's best officers; a gallant soldier, a 
dashing cavalryman, if he did "love licker" and 
would at times imbibe too freely. 

One sleety bitter, cold night in January, 1864, 
General Stevens was called to Dalton. I was cu- 
rious to know what could have caused the old fel- 
low to venture Out on such a ride. 

The next morning I called on him, at his Head- 

264 



RINGGOLD AND DALTON 

quarters, to see if I could hear anything about his 
trip, which hinted of critical things. As our con- 
versation throws light on the views of Southern 
men, waging war for their views, I report it here, 
for this talk made upon me an indelible impression : 

I said, "General Stevens, if it is proper, I would 
be pleased for you to tell me about your trip last 
night." 

General Stevens : "I was ordered to meet all the 
General Officers of this army at General Johnston's 
Headquarters in conference, by order of President 
Jefferson Davis. The subject of the next campaign 
was discussed. The probable number of Sherman's 
force, and the tactics he would be likely to employ, 
was mentioned. A plan of campaign prepared by 
Mr. Davis and General Bragg for General Johnston, 
was examined, but I do not know that I am at 
liberty to mention why I was called to Dalton, as 
secrecy was enjoined upon all. However, I will 
tell you, as I wish your views, if you will promise 
not to mention it to anyone." 

Col. Nisbet: "If you will make me your con- 
fidante, I promise to be very discreet." 

General Stevens : "Then I will proceed. You 
know we are getting no re-enforcements, and very 
few recruits, to successfully resist Sherman's grand 
army assembling in our front. General Lee cannot 
spare any of his men; more men are needed, there- 
fore President Davis called the meeting to get an 
expression from the General Officers of this army 
as to the advisability of calling out, and arming 
negro soldiers, which you know is now being urged 
by some newspapers. 

"All present were opposed to the plan, except 
Major General Pat Cleburne. I believe Cleburne, 
though a skilled army officer, and true to the South- 
ern cause, is opposed to slavery, and has not a 
proper conception of the negro, he being foreign 
born and reared. 

"Of course the negroes who go into the army 

265 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

would be asked to enlist; the Confederate Govern- 
ment agreeing to pay their owners, under the con- 
dition that negro soldiers and their families had 
to be freed. I do not want independence, if it is 
to be won by the help of negroes." 

There was a pause. He turned to me and said, 
"What do you say?" 

Colonel Nisbet: "I am in favor of putting every 
negro in our army that can be properly armed, 
equipped and fed, who is physically fit and will 
volunteer. I understand we have good arms for 
a large number. General Cleburne is not alone in 
his views in regard to this matter." 

General Stevens : "I am astonished at you ! You 
are demoralized! We can, and will whip the fight 
as it is. Who would command negro Regiments 
and Brigades?" 

Colonel Nisbet: "I will; and there are others 
■who, like me, place the success of our cause above 
all things! I am for using any and all fair means. 
The war has progressed too far for us to fail now, 
if disaster can be averted by wise foresight. 

"Negroes will do better under Southern men who 
understand them: as they do us. Their sympathies 
are strongly Southern. If freed they will be proud 
to fight under their old masters. It will soon be- 
come with them a fight for home and fireside, as 
with us. 

"There were three hundred and eighteen 
thousand free negroes in the South in 1861; 
they owned twenty-five millions dollars of 
property, some of which was in slaves. They 
should be utilized to defend the country. 
Those of Louisiana have already offered their 
services to the Government to resist invasion. 

"And as to whether we could use them to advan- 
tage as soldiers, listen! General Andrew Jackson 
in the year 1814 by a formal proclamation, prom- 
ised 'to every noble-hearted, generous freedman of 
-color, volunteering to serve during the present con- 

266 



RINGGOLD AND DALTON 

test, the same bounty, monthly pay, and daily 
rations and clothes furnished to any American sol- 
dier (Livermore's Hist. Research, P. 210). He ac- 
cepted several companies of colored men, who took 
part in the battle of New Orleans." 

General Stevens : "I contend that slavery was the 
irritating cause of this war, brought on by the abo- 
lition leaders, and that the cry of Union and rebel- 
lion are only a subterfuge to enlist the masses in 
a crusade against slavery. The negro is in his 
right place, producing under the direction of the 
white man. If slavery is to be abolished then T 
take no more interest in our fight. The justifica- 
tion of slavery in the South is the inferiority of the 
negro. If we make him a soldier, we concede the 
whole question." 

Colonel Nisbet: "I know the negro race is inca- 
pable of progression in themselves; but they have 
reached under our system of slavery in the South 
the highest civilization to which they have ever at- 
tained, as every unbiased student of history knows. 
You fail to give the negro credit that is due him 
for his faithfulness, his superiority as a laborer in 
most all classes of heavy muscular work, and as a 
servant. They do not cherish revenge as do labor- 
ers of the Latin race or the Slavs. They will make 
fairly good soldiers, especially to hold fortified po- 
sitions ; but not as good as the American white man. 

"General, you are familiar with the coast negroes 
of South Carolina and Georgia, who with a few ex- 
ceptions are but little better than the native Afri- 
can. It is from the up-country we would recruit 
our negro soldiers. They have been used to asso- 
ciate with white folks; to attend their masters in 
their sports, and to handle firearms. 

"Negro soldiers fought well in the battle of 
Bunker Hill. Washington used them as enlisted 
soldiers in the Revolutionary war; although he did 
not approve of the idea of their general enlistment. 

"They were emancipated in Rhode Island on con- 

267 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

dition of their enlistment in the American Army 
for the war; and the project had the full approval 
of Washington. They have advanced in intelli- 
gence very much since that time. I do not under- 
rate our soldiers by advocating this, the only way 
of recruiting our armies. 

"Finally, in the words of the Richmond Exam- 
iner, I will say, 'If the negro is fit to be a soldier, 
he is not fit to be a' slave ; there is no doubt that the 
proposition cuts under the traditions and theories 
of three generations of the South.' But I am for 
it. Set free ail who will enlist, and let us prose- 
cute this war on something like an equal basis." 

After this colloquy with Brig. Genl. Stevens, I 
was informed that General Cleburne had addressed 
a communication to some friend in authority at 
Richmond, in which he gave his reasons why ne- 
gro soldiers should be put in the Confederate armies 
at once. 

He called attention to the fact that the slaves were 
becoming an element of wealmess as the enemy pen- 
etrated our territory; instead of an element of 
strength, as they were at first. 

He read this to a certain Major General, under 
secrecy. So we did not hear of it at the time; but 
it got to Mr. Davis. Then he called the meeting I 
have mentioned. Similar conversations were being 
held in other armies of the South. 

The Mobile Register, and other newspapers, were 
advocating negro enlistments. 

If Mr. Davis in his message to Congress, that win- 
ter (1863-4) had taken a bold stand in its favor; the 
Congress would have enacted a bill to that efYect. 
It was understood that there were good arms and 
plenty of ammunition for a large additional force. 

Mr. Davis' great blunder was his failure to realize 
the weakness of the Confederacy at this time. Fi- 
nally, the next ivinter, when it was too late, the 
Confederate Congress passed an act calling out 
forty thousand negro soldiers. General Lee having 

268 



RINGGOLD AND DALTON 

written an urgent letter, November 7th, 1864, to 
that end. 

Major Pegram and others raised companies in 
Richmond. Mr. Lincoln said of it, laconically, 
"Well, it doesn't noiv matter, let them go ahead, we 
had just as well fight negroes armed with guns, as 
those with hoes." 

At that time, my old Maj. General Edwin R. Ewell 
(unfit for field duty after the loss of his leg at sec- 
ond Manassas) commanded the immediate defenses 
of Richmond. He declared that with "a negro force 
employed on the interior lines of the capitol, fifteen 
thousand white soldiers might be liberated and used 
by Lee on the enemies' front." 

The army of Tennessee, in winter quarters at 
Dalton, passed four months in learning the duties 
of a soldier ; discipline and the drill ; which was very 
necessary. There was a night class for officers at 
our Brigade Head-quarters, presided over by Gen- 
eral Stevens; a most competent teacher of military 
duties and the tactics, 

A revival of religion was conducted in almost 
every Division, and the interest was intense. An 
incident. At a night service in a Tennessee Brigade, 
held by the light of a burning dead pine, while all 
were kneeling in prayer, the tree fell; killing, and 
wounding eleven men. 

"Snow ball battles" between Brigades, led by their 
officers, were of almost daily occurrence. In one of 
them, I was captured, dragged from my horse, and 
carried a prisoner to Cheatham's Division, where 1 
was paroled. In the meantime our camp was looted 
by the victorious Tennesseans; a desperate charge 
to capture Cheatham's camp was repulsed; then to 
re<?over our camp-kettles, frying-pans, etc., called 
for diplomacy of a high order, as we could not 
recapture them with snow balls. In fact it was 
the first snow-ball of fighting proportions, one half 
of my Regiment ever saw; consequently they did 
not understand making ammunition with daftness 
and celerity. 

269 



XXIV. 

ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. 

On the first of May, I received an order to go to 
Resacca, to guard the W. & A. Railroad bridge 
across the Oostanaula river, relieving the 1st Flor- 
ida Regiment. On the march Hamilton said, "Well, 
Nisbet; what would our leader, Stonewall, think 
of us? Going eighteen miles to the rear to guard 
a bridge; at the beginning of a campaign? Let's 
beat our swords into plough-shares, and pruning 
hooks, and make a garden; the time and opportu- 
nity seem to be favorable." 

There was an old dilapidated battery in the 
breast-works around the bridge, and there was a 
company of Cavalry who scouted the roads leading 
into the station. In a few days, the cavalry scouts 
brought to me a negro girl, who stated that she 
lived in Dogwood Valley, on the Snake Greek Gap 
road; that she was on her way to Resacca to get 
medicine for "old mistiss" when she was overhauled 
by some mounted soldiers in Blue; who took her 
horse. She said: "I have seen prisoners passing on 
the train, and I think the soldiers who took my 
horse are Yankees." 

The Cavalry officer who brought the girl to me 
said he was sure that they were Yanks, so I in- 
formed General Johnston that there was a force of 
the enemy's cavalry in Snake Creek Gap; and that 
night Grigsby's Brigade of cavalry arrived. Colonel 
Grigsby had not been informed by General John- 
ston that he would probably meet a force of the 
enemy's infantry. He thought he would only have 
to contend with a raiding force of cavalry. Gen- 
eral Johnston evidently had not been notified by 

270 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

General Joe Wheeler of McPherson's advance into 
Snake Greek Gap. 

It appears from the Record that the Federal Cav- 
alry drove Wheeler's small force of cavalry pell- 
mell from Ship's Gap, and the movement of Fed- 
eral infantry which followed, was concealed. Gen- 
eral Johnston says he knew that McPherson's Corps 
passed through Ship's Gap on the 8th, but he sent 
Cleburne's Division to watch a gap nearer Dalton 

Grigsby went out on the Snake Greek Gap road, 
met and drove back Federal Cavalry on their in- 
fantry. In the charge, he captured twenty or thirty 
prisoners who informed us that the whole of Mc- 
Pherson's Corps, twenty-three thousand strong, with 
ninety-six pieces of artillery, were in the Gap. 

Johnston's army at Dalton was hotly engaged 
with Thomas' Corps at "Rocky Face" on the road 
from Dalton to Tunnel Hill. McPherson moved out 
from Chattanooga and passed through Ship Gap 
via Rock Springs on the 7th and 8th of May. 
Thomas attacked Johnston on the 7th and 8th and 
was repulsed. I think the demonstration at Rocky 
Face was made to conceal McPherson's movement. 

General Sherman in his Memoirs, says: "I re- 
ceived a note on the 9th of May from McPherson 
at two P. M. saying that he was within a mile and 
a half of Resacca; that night, received further no- 
tice from McPherson nine o'clock P. M. that he 
had found Resacca too strongly held for a surprise, 
and that he had fallen back three miles and forti- 
fied. Sherman adds: "McPherson should have 
closed in on Resacca, then held by only a small 
brigade; or had he captured the Railroad above, 
and fortified, Johnston would have had to retreat 
via Spring Place, or over very bad roads, and prob- 
ably lost to us much of his equipment," He also 
says : "Such an oportunity does not occur twice 
in a single life, but at the critical moment McPher- 
son seems to have been a little timid." 

271 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

After developing the status of affairs as I have 
stated Colonel Grigsby moved away from Resacca. 

I was very uneasy that night, and the next morn- 
ing; for I realized that McPherson could capture 
Resacca if he advanced in force. After a while I 
was informed that there was a train at the station 
loaded with troops. I hastened down there, and met 
Brigadier General James Canty, who had com- 
manded the 15th Alabama Regiment of Trimble's 
Brigade. 

I reported for duty to him, as ranking officer 
(being very glad to get rid of the responsibility). 
I informed him as to what force I had there, about 
fifteen hundred rifles. 

He said he had with him the 37th Mississippi and 
17th Alabama Regiments, about two thousand 
strong; that a part of his Brigade had preceded him 
to Rome, Georgia, where he had been ordered. That 
he received a telegram on the way to come on to 
Resacca. He added: "I know nothing of the sit- 
uation, and wish you would ride out on the road 
with me, and explain matters." 

We rode out about a mile on the Snake Creek Gap 
road. I stopped and informed him that it was as 
far as we could go with safety. He said he would 
post one of his Regiments across the little Creek 
just out of the town, and the other (the 17th x\la- 
bama) on a ridge, closer in, and in front of my 
breast- works. I advised him to keep all of our lit- 
tle force concentrated in the works around the 
bridge ; that if \ve could hold it against McPherson's 
Corps of twenty-three thousand men, until John- 
stofi could send us re-enforcements, we would do 
well. 

H^e Siaid, "I wisJh. to keep the enemy from occu- 
pying this ridge, and sJaelling the bridge." So he 
sent the 37th Mississippi out there in the ridges 
ap,d soon D,od,ge's Corps of three Divisions advanced 
and surrounded them; and they had to retreat, 
after fighting a little; losing considerably in cap- 

272 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

lures. The disaster to this Regiment demoralized 
the 171h Alabama, which had been on post duty at 
Mobile, and had many raw recruits. 

When therefore. Dodge followed up his success 
and charged across the branch in force, mahy of 
the 17th Alabama and 37th Mississippi retreated 
back to my line of works. 

There were some brave spirits in both Regiments, 
Avho continued to pour it into the enemy from be- 
hind trees, while the Federals occupied the crest of 
the ridge. 

We stopped all the men we could, and put them 
in our line. I said to one fellow, "Halt! What are 
you rtmning for?" He answered, "Bekase I kain't 
}ly!" Those that stopped, held the works when we 
advanced. The rest may be running yet, and "go 
on forever" — like Tennyson's Brook. 

In the meantime McPherson got some of his bat- 
teries in position and was throwing shells into the 
town, regardless of consequences. Of course I ex- 
pected to see General Canty at the front, helping us 
to rally and reform his demoralized men; but he 
did not show up. I coilld not leave my line to see 
him, as I expected an attack at any moment. Fi- 
nally a courier brought me a note requesting that 
I would come to General Ganty's head-quarters. I 
wen! back there, under a tremendous shelling. I 
found Canty and another General (I believe his 
name w^as — well, it's "a piece of the immaterial" — • 
sitting in a bomb-proof pit. I saluted and said: 
"General,- I am ready to receive your orders." He 
said, "I want to talk over the situation with you; 
come down in here, Colonel, you may get hit by a 
piece of shell." 

I aftswered, "General, the enemy are upon us. 

Your Regiments have been driven in. Something 
must be done at once to show the enemy that Re- 
sacca is not entirely undefended. I can receive your 
orders standing here. If I get into that hole, I 
might be afraid to get out.''' 

273 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

He said, "Well, I want you to take your Regiment 
and Battalion, and drive the enemy from that ridge 
in your front." 

I said, "I don't know how far such a small force 
can drive a Division; but I can show them there's 
somebody here that can fight. They must be held 
until Johnston can send re-enforcements." 

It has been said that General Canty had two 
Brigades and that Loring's Division had arrived. At 
that time (9th) there were no other troops in Re- 
sacca, but my command, Ganty's two Regiments 
and the old Battery. 

I returned to my Regiment and informed the of- 
ficers and men that I was going to advance to a 
ravine, just below the ridge from which the enemy 
were firing; that I thought the smoke and the late- 
ness of the hour would obscure our movement. All 
endorsed the idea, enthusiastically. 

I ordered, "no firing," that the men leave their 
canteens in the breast-works, as there must be no 
noise to attract attention. The Field Officers and 
Captains took their positions in front. 

The Regiment was standing in the "pit," "at at- 
tention." At the command "Battalion, Forward 
March!" they moved over the breast-works; and 
preserving a "well dressed" line, they reached the 
ravine, without any casualties. 

The enemy were shooting high. We halted and 
lay down. 

Going along the line, I instructed each company 
to aim low. The blue line could be seen under the 
smoke on the crest of the ridge — Canty's skirmish- 
ers, from behind trees, hitting enough of them to 
draw their steady fire. I gave the order, "Ready! 
Aim! Fire!" Fifteen hundred rifles belched forth, 
fired as one man. Then there was a tremendous 
confusion among the enemy — calling for litter- 
bearers, and their officers rallying the men, who 
had fallen back behind the crest of the ridge. 

274 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

I went along the regiment and battalion, and or- 
dered them to load, but to hold their fire until the 
enemy came back in line to the top of the ridge. 
This they did, and on the second or third fire, that 
line retreated. 

After a while a second line could be heard com- 
ing up. When they were "lined up" plainly in 
view, we fired as before; and they did as the first 
line did, shooting over our heads many feet, and 
falling back behind the crest of the ridge. In thg 
meantime there were only a few slight casualties 
on our side, and these from glancing balls. 

However, I deemed it not prudent to advance for 
fear of being surrounded. I was fearful that some 
cool officer would discover the length of my line, 
advance and flank me; so I sent Lt. Flournoy Adams 
of my Regiment back to say to General Canty that 
we were inflicting considerable loss upon the en- 
emy; but if he wanted the fight to continue he must 
send out his own regiments to support my flanks; 
that I could occupy the ridge in my front, but that 
I did not think if best to advance so far with such 
a small force. 

Adams returned with the order for me to fall 
back to the breast-works; and this we did, in good 
order, the command moving as if on parade. My 
loss was small. Gapt. Jordan (Gompany B) (Troup 
County) was wounded in the leg, just as he dropped 
over the rifle pits. The wound was small, but 
erysipelas developed, and he died. 

A Tennessee Brigade had just arrived from Dal- 
ton, and when they witnessed the steadiness of our 
movement imder fire, they said "Bully for the bloody 
old 6>6th Brigade!" Coming from them, those few 
words were music in our ears; it was "praise from 
Sir Hubert, which was praise indeed." 

I did not know then, but I have since learn'^d, 
that this advance out of the works and sprightly 
resistance impressed McPherson with the idea that 
large re-enforcements had arrived from Dalton, and 

275 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

k'"'pt him from advancing that afternoon, and cap- 
turing Resacca before aid did reach us. 

It appears from his dispatch to Sherman tha!. 
McPherson retired about the same time Nisbet did, 
both hunting earthworks! 

But we saved our bridge! There was no defense 
for our position that afternoon except my fifteen 
hundred men. Not many of Ganty's regiments, if 
rallied, could be relied on. General Canty should 
have made a report of this little fight. But he did 
not. He had good reasons for keeping quiet. 

From Pat Gleburne's Report, we arrive at the con- 
clusion that General Johnston thought that the least 
said about Rosacea on the 9th of May, the better. 

General Wm. T. Sherman says in his Memoirs 
that he traveled with General Joe Johnston and 
other ex-officers from St. Louis to Memphis some 
time after the war; that they had a pleasant social 
time on the boat. They were playing cards in the 
cabin, when the Atlanta Campaign came under dis- 
cussion; that he jollied Johnston about fooling him 
at Dalton and Resacca; saying "I could have occu- 
pied Resacca if McPherson had not been so timid; 
and nearly ruined you at the beginning of the cam- 
paign." He adds, "Johnston would not admit it, 
butsaid 'If McPherson had got across my Railroad 
there, I would have ruined him,' " 

But it is as Sherman says,, "Between two armies, 
each one as large as his own, and one fortified, 
Johnston would have been thrown into a very dan- 
gerous predicament. He would have been forced to 
retreat by way of Spring Place over very bad roads, 
etc." 

I was with Stonewall Jackson when he got in 
Pope's rear, and occupied his line of communica- 
tions as I have stated elsewhere. The movement 
ended in the complete defeat of Pope's army, the 
loss of all of his supplies and much equipment, and 
disaster to his campaign. 

276 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

General Johnston's Report shows that in some 
way he had been deceived about the Confederate 
force at Resacca. He was under the impression that 
two Brigades of Loring's Division from Mobile had 
arrived there on the 9th, when in fact it was only 
two Regiments of Ganty's Brigade, Loring's Di- 
vision. 

Loring in his report mentions the arrival of his 
'advance Brigade on the iOth, and the others on the 
11th and 15th. 

When Johnston found that Loring's Division had 
not arrived on the 9th, he sent down Cleburne's Di- 
vision on the 10th. 

Major General W. W. Loring's report (war rec- 
ords) of the movements of his Division (Polk's 
Corps) says: "Scott's Brigade arrived at Resacca 
May 10th, Adam's Brigade May 11th, and Feather - 
stone's Brigade on 12th. Myself and staff arrived 
on 11th. McPherson was reported on my arrival 
to be four miles west of Resacca." 

Maj. G^nl. G. M. Dodge (Federal) commanding 
left wing 16th army Corps, in his report of this fight 
(9th) says: "At one o'clock P. M. advanced with 
the 2nd, 3rd and 4th divisions. Attacked the enemy 
(37th Mississippi) and routed them, captured some 
prisoners and halted. Was ordered by General Mc- 
Pherson at four o'clock P. M. to advance and cap- 
ture ridge across Creek, opposite Resacca. Advanced 
wdthin three-fourths mile of the town, which was 
in plain view. General Veatch was ordered to move 
with Fuller's and Sprague's Brigades and occupy 
ridge. The enemy opened on us with a heavy fire 
from his batteries, and with musketry on the left 
of second Division, etc. Was ordered by General 
McPherson to fall back about sunset, reached camp 
-about twelve o'clock and fortified." 

As my fight was on the 9th, I give these two re- 
ports in proof of my contention, that the "bluff" I 
put up caused the retreat of McPherson's Corps, 
which Sherman laments. 

19 277 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

In the United States Government Records, Opera- 
tions Union and Confederate Armies: Series 1, Part 
3rd, Vol. 38, I fmd General Joseph E. Johnston's Re- 
port of the operations of his army from Dalton. He 
says in part : "On May 7th Gantey reached Resacca 
with two Brigades; and was halted there." 

The facts are these: Cantey did not reach Re- 
sacca till the morning of the 9th of May. He had 
but two (2) Regiments of his Brigade: (Loring's 
Division). 

Johnston does not mention McPherson's occupa- 
tion of Snake Creek Gap on the 8th day of May. 
Nor does he mention our severe fight on the 9th of 
May. But he does say: "Reports were received in 
the afternoon of the 9th, that Dodge's and Logan's 
Corps were in Snake Creek Gap." Exactly at this 
time it was, that I was hotly engaged in trying to 
keep Dodge's Division out of Resacca. 

Major General Patrick Cleburne, always on the 
alert, realized the situation. 

In his Report of operations from May 7th to 27th 
(Series 1, Vol. 38, Part 3rd) he says: "How this 
Gap," which opened upon our rear and line of 
communications, from which it was distant 
(Resacca) only five miles, was neglected I cannot 
imagine. Its loss exposed us at the outset to a ter- 
rible danger. 

"If McPherson had hotly pressed his advantage, 
Sherman supporting him strongly, it is impossible 
to say what the enemy might achieved, more than 
probably a complete victory." 

But to resume my narrative of the campaign. 
When Johnston found that McPherson had fallen 
back from Resacca, he remained in Dalton until 
the 11th and 12th facing Thomas and Howard. On 
the 13th his army came pouring down, and went 
into line around Ri^sacca, the right resting on the 
Oostanaula river, above, and the left wing on the 
river below. 

Sherman says : "Had Johnston remained in Dal- 

278 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

ion another hour, it would have been a total de- 
feat." 

But I don't think so. The crisis was past, when 
McPherson failed to reap his advantage. 

Sherman's army followed McPherson through 
Snake Greek Gap, except Howard's Corps, which 
advanced through Dalton, and deployed against 
Resacca on the 14th of May. 

Johnston's army was there in position and the 
fighting commenced with vigor, and was kept up 
continuously for two days, 14th and 15th, with 
varied success; but generally in favor of the Con- 
federates. 

On the 15th McPherson crossed the river at Lay's 
Ferry, three miles below; and was threatening our 
communications at Calhoun, seven miles south of 
Resacca. Walker's Division was sent to hold him 
in check. 

I did not go with my Brigade (Stevens) because 
on that night I received an order to report with my 
Regiment to Col. Ben Hill, Inspector General of the 
army. I followed the courier to a vacant store sit- 
uated on the street leading out to Snake Creek Gap. 

We passed through a fierce shower of shot and 
shell. Sherman had our range from the hills that 
poor Cantey thought to hold with his 37th Missis- 
sippi Regiment, and was doing some mighty close 
artillery practice, although the night was very dark. 
He knew that McPherson's flank movement would 
force Johnston to fall back. 

I went in the vacant store. There sat an officer 
by a small table. I said, "Colonel Hill I believe?" 
He said, "The same, at your service." I said, "I am 
Colonel Nisbet. I came to report to you, with my 
command, for duty tonight." He said, "That's all 
right, ColoUel Nisbet. Take a seat; we will not need 
your Regiment for several hours. Johnston's army 
is going to fall back tonight; and after they are all 
over the river, I want you to take up the pontoon 
bridges and burn the Railroad bridge." I said, "If 

279 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

that's the case, my men out there, are needlessly ex- 
posed. I will send them to a place of shelter, under 
the bluff near the bridge." 

He said, "If you feel like hunting a safe place 
yourself, you can go with them, and I will send you 
word when needed." I replied, "Well as to that, I 
can stay anywhere you, or any other man can." He 
looked up at me, and said, "All right; that's the way 
to talk; let's take a drink." I answered, "Colonel 
Hill, you touch me in a very tender spot, by such 
remarks, at such a tiaie. Wait a minute or two 
if you possibly can, and I will be with you." I in- 
formed Colonel Hamilton that it would be some 
hours before the command would be needed, and 
asked him to take the troops where they could have 

protection, and sleep. 

He said he would take them to the bridge, where 
the men could break ranks and lie under the river 
bluff; until I notified him they were needed. 

In the meantime the army was pouring by, and 
Sherman's shells got fiercer and more frequent. I 
said, as a shell struck the house, "Colonel Hill, you 
seem to have selected a very exposed spot for your 
Headquarters tonight." "Yes," said he, "most any- 
where around Resacca is most damnably dangerous 
about now! Let's take that drink; there's some of 
old Lawson Hill's apple Brandy from McMinn 
County, Tennessee; five years old; aged in wood." 

We took a drink, and I, sat down on the opposite 
side of the table. The tallow-dip candle, stuck in 
the neck of a bottle, threw a wierd light about the 
vacant store. Col. Hill was leaning back with his 
feet on the table, when a shell struck the gable end 
of the house; tore through the rafters, and burst, fill- 
ing the room with smoke. Hill fell backward, over- 
turning the table. The room was full of powder- 
smoke. We were in inky darkness. I groped around 
to him, and asked, "Col. Hill, are you hurt?" He 
said, "Hurt! Why yes! I believe the dam Yanks 

280 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

have broken my neck and leg both." I said, "Hold 
on there until I get a light." 

I struck a match, lit the candle, set up the chairs 
and table, and then said, "Now let me assist you." 
He raised up and asked: "Colonel Nisbet, did they 
break the bottle?" I said, "No, here it is safe and 
sound." He answered: "Thank the Lord for that!" 

I helped him to a chair. Said I, "Partner of ray 
woes, let's take another drink; this puts me in mind 
of campaigning in old Virginia; seems so natural!" 

I found that a piece of rafter had struck Hill on 
the neck, and another piece on the Iniee; both quite 
painful bruises. 

Col. Ben Hill of the 35th Tennessee regiment had 
made a reputation in the army for reckless bravery. 
I had heard of him, but we had never met before. 
As he presumed to be facetious with me, I thought 
I would be that way with him. It was General Ben 
Hill before the end of the war. He died many years 
ago at McMinnville, Tennessee. 

Toward day, the courier came from Gen. John- 
ston, saying the army had all crossed over the river. 
And then we took up the pontoon bridges and placed 
them on the wagons and burned the railroad bridge. 
We then rejoined our brigade, which we foimd 
skirmishing with McPherson's men, in the bend of 
the river, about two miles from Calhoun. 

But soon a courier came with orders for me to 
report to Gen. Joe Wheeler at Calhoun as quickly 
as possible. I did so with my regiment and bat- 
talion. 

We found Genl. Wheeler in the town watching 
the enemy "Wilder's "Lightning" Brigade Mounted 
Infantry" (it was thought) was coming down the 
railroad from Bosacca, supported by a division of 
infantry from Dodge's 16th Corps, as I afterwards 
learned. 

With Genl. Wheeler were several officers I knew. 
Col. Jim Morrison of the First Georgia Cavalry (had 
been Lt. Col. 21st Georgia Infantry) and Col Jack 

281 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Hart of the 6th Georgia Cavalry (had been a captain 
in the same regiment) and Col. Isaac Avery, 4th 
Georgia Cavalry — my old boyhood friend, in Macon-. 
They introduced me to Genl. Wheeler. He said, 
"Colonel Nisbet, you see the enemy is pressing us. 
I want your command to fill a gap in my line on 
that high hill" (pointing, North up the railroad). 
"I have" not cavalry enough here to occupy all the 
ground. I think that hill will be their main point 
of attack. They would like to get it to shell our 
wagon train, and artillery here. Will your men 
hold it?" 

I said, "We certainly will as long as your cavalry 
protects our flanks." He said, as we moved off, 
"Don't you leave there. Colonel, until I send you 
orders." 

The regiment and battalion stacked arms, on top 
the hill, and were ordered to throw up any slight 
protection they could. They worked fast, as Wil- 
der's (?) men could be seen coming, dismounted, 
down the railroad and through the fields. 

Major John W. Nisbet and Capt. Tom Langston 
posted their skirmishers behind trees about seventy- 
five yards from a fence, at the foot of the hill, with 
orders not to shoot until the enemy got to the fence. 

Soon the Federals came up. My men shot them 
off the fence so fast they fell back; then rallied, and 
cam.e again; and each time we drove them back. 
After some time, a messenger came from Capt. Lang- 
ston, commanding the left of the skirmish line, say- 
ins the enemy was passing by his left flank on the 
railroad and had wounded a man by shooting down 
bis line; and my brother, commanding the skir- 
mishers of the right, informed me that the enemy 
was Da^^ing by his right flank and firing down his 
line. T went along the line and placed men in posi- 
tion to shoot from cover, at the men passing by. I 
told the officers we must stay there until ordered bv 
Genl. Wheeler to fall back; although it was then 
evident we were being surrounded. 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

My orderly, a young boy, Pendergrast, was hold- 
ing our horses, in front of the "Calhoun Hotel," 
near where Genl. Wheeler was sitting on his horse 
watching the enemy coming into the outskirts of 
the town. 

The last of the wagon-train having passed out, 
the cavalry was withdrawn. My orderly seeing the 
last of the cavalry had passed to the rear, and the 
enemy coming in, became uneasy about us. So he 
rode up to Genl. Wheeler and said, "General, can 
you tell me where Colonel Nisbet's infantry regi- 
ment is? They might need their horses." Wheeler 
turned to one of his staff and said, "That's the in- 
fantry regiment firing on the hill; go tell them to 
get out the best they can; that they are surrounded." 

The aide (riding under fire) delivered the mes- 
sage. Lieut. Col. Hamilton and Major Newton Hull 
took the regiment out marching by the flank, by 
twos, the front rank firing to the right and the rear 
rank firing to the left. I came out with my skir- 
mishers, who retired slowly in line; firing at every- 
thing "Blue" that showed its head. 

The enemy were behind houses, crossties, the rail- 
road track, and any other cover they could find. 
They, seeing we were pretty well surrounded, 
wanted us to surrender; but we paid no attention to 
their white flag (Handkerchiefs) ; we just kept on, 
going slowly and shooting. 

They were afraid to close in on us. Arrived at 
the "Calhoun hotel," we mounted our horses and 
marched on out of the town on the Adairville road. 

In falling back through the town I lost only one 
man killed and one wounded; thanks to the poor 
markmanship of the Yanks. 

The man killed was Private Perry Conant of Capt. 
Alex Reid's company from Putnam County. He was 
a substantial citizen of the county, and a good sol- 
dier. It was with regret that we were forced to 
leave his body where he fell. * 

The enemy suffered considerably before we 

283 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

started back in retreat. I saw them helping their 
wounded off to the rear; but I can't tell how much 
damage they sustained from our firing as we went 
through the town; not having Wilder's powers of 
"divination." He tells us in his reports the exact 
number of Rebels killed even when he was retreat- 
ing. 

When we reached Oothealoga creek, about three 
miles out from Calhoun, Genl. Wheeler was on the 
road. He had formed another line "to check 'em." 
He said, "Well, Colonel, you got out all right, I see. 
I have another place in the line here for you." I said, 
"Genl. Wheeler, by special order I was detailed to 
assist you to protect the wagon train and artillery 
at Calhoun. I did that, but my command came very 
near being captured. I will not continue to bring 
up the rear with cavalry unless my men are 
mounted." 

He rephed, "I have no time to discuss this matter. 
I order you into line here, Sir." I turned to Col. 
Hamilton and said, "March the regiment on, Colonel, 
and rejoin our brigade." As I turned my mare to 
follow, Wheeler said : "I will prefer charges against 
you. Sir." I replied, "You can prefer your charges 
and be d — d ! I will prefer counter charges against 
you for neglecting to send me an order to fall back 
when you withdrew your cavalry." 

I was a hotheaded young fellow in those days; 
was only twenty-three years old, but looked boyish. 
Genl. Wheeler thought I was inexperienced and 
tried a bluff. I had seen nearly three years of actual 
service and more heavy fighting perhaps than he 
had, having been on the firing line oftener. 

Albeit, Genl. Wheeler is known in history as "a 
man of a thousand battles." Generals were not ex- 
pected to go on the "firing line" except on extraor- 
dinary occasions. Their position during a fight was 
generally on a high point a little out of the range 
of minnie-balls, whence they could witnpss the con- 
test, and send orders or reinforcements where 

284 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

needed. They were subjected to artillery fire at 
times, but could shift their position. But they 
get credit for all the skirmishes in which different 
parts of their commands were engaged. 

As an illustration of this fact, I will mention a 
yarn Gen. John B. Gordon used to tell with a good 
deal of relish. "There were a great many negro 
servants connected with the Confederate army in 
one way and another, who were proud of their 
service, and devoted to the cause of their masters. 

"One of them approached the commander-in- 
chief. Said he, pulling off his cap, 'Gen. Lee, I'm a 
soldier! I been wanting to talk to you a long time.' 
'Ah, to what army do you belong? to the Union 
army, or to the Southern army?' Oh! General, don't 
ax me dat, course I belongs to your army.' 'Well, 
have you been shot?' 'No, Sir, I ain't been shot, 
yit.' 'How is that? Nearly all our men have been 
shot?' 'Why, Gineral, I ain't been shot, 'cause T 
stays back whar de Ginerals stay.' " 

At any rate I knew my duty. The campaign was 
fierce, and I heard no more from General Wheeler. 
I suppose he forgot the incident. I met him several 
times after the War, but there was no reference 
to it. 

The last time I saw him was at the Confederate 
reunion at New Orleans; just after the close of the 
Spanish-American war. 

There were many ex-Confederates talking in the 
Palm Room of the St. Charles Hotel, when he en- 
tered. We crowded around him to shake his hand, 
and give him welcome. He had returned from Cuba, 
the "hero of the hour." The newspapers had been 
full of the charge at "San Juan Hill," and what 
Major-General Joe Wheeler said when he ordered 
the charge. I asked him to tell us about that fisrbt. 

He said: "After I reached Washington from 
Cuba, President McKinley sent for me, and after a 
very pleasant conversation, about ihe happv termi- 
nation of the War, Santiago, and affairs' on th<^ 

285 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Island, the President asked, 'General Wheeler, did 
you say, "Charge the dam-Yankees, boys" — as the 
papers have it?" I replied, 'Mr. President, I don't 
use cuss words. I may have said, "Charge the 

Yankees, boys!" ' It was a natural slip of the 
tongue!" He added, "President McKinley laughed 
heartily over the incident." 

General Joseph Wheeler was a great cavalry 
leader. He possessed energy untiring. It has been 
said the results of his campaigns were not as fa- 
vorable as Forrest's or Jeb Stuart's. Maybe so, but 
he surpassed most of his compeers in military 
achievements. For instance. 

After Atlanta fell, Sherman organized the great- 
est of all cavalry raids to capture Macon and release 
the Andersonville prisoners. General McCook with 
three thousand two hundred men, General Garrard 
four thousand men, General Stoneman two thou- 
sand two hundred men, making a total force of nine 
thousand four hundred well mounted cavalry, with 
artillery. 

To meet this force Wheeler had three thousand 
eight hundred cavalry. The raiders divided, to meet 
at" Macon. Wheeler sent General Iverson after 
Stoneman. Iverson overtook, captured and dis- 
persed Stoneman's command near Macon. Wheeler 
ov'^'rtook McGook and Garrard near Newnan, and 
after a series of brilliant combats, captured and dis- 
persed the raiders, three thousand two hundred of. 
whom were lodged in prison. 

McGook and Garrard got back to the army with 
loss of all their equipment and many men, and with 
the morale of defeat. They returned to Sherman 
with only five hundred men. After that Sherman 
foimd himself badly crippled as to cavalry. 

This distinguished Confederate soldier deserves 
more than a passing notice. Major General Joseph 
Wheeler was born at Augusta, Georgia. Graduated 
at West Point 1859, commissioned second Lieuten- 
ant and stationed at Caslisle, Pennsylvania. Re- 

286 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

signed April, 1861, and was appointed Colonel 19th 
Alabama Infantry; Was active in campaigns of 
Kentucky and Tennessee. Commanded Brigade at 
Shiloh April, 1862. Was transferred to cavalry and 
took part in Bragg's Kentucky campaign. Was at 
Perrj'ville. Was promoted Brigadier October, 1862. 
In January, 1863, he was commissioned Major- 
Genl. Commanded Confederate cavalry at Chicka- 
mauga, Missionary Ridge, and retreat to Dalton. 
August, 1864, he led a successful raid in Sherman's 
rear as far as Kentucky line. Was in Sherman's 
front to Savannah and on through the Carolinas. 

February, 1865, he was promoted Lieutenant-Gen- 
eral. After the war he became a lawyer and cotton 
planter. In lB80 was elected to Congress from Ala- 
bama and served his district until 1898. In 1898 he 
was appointed Major General by President McKinley 
and commanded cavalry corps at Santiago. He was 
in chief command of the troops at La Guasimas, 
and San Juan Hill as senior officer. Was one of the 
American commissioners to arrange for the sur- 
render of Santiago. Commanded a Brigade in the 
Philippines 1889 and 1890. Was commissioned 
Brigadier General in the regular army June, 1900, 
and retired the following September. 

The Spanish American War of 1898 was the first 
appeal to arms the United States has been engaged 
in since 1865. The part taken by ex-Confederates 
and their sons in the conflict, with the magnani- 
mous attitude of President McKinley, dispelled the 
last vestige of sectional animosty and especially 
Northern suspicion of the South's loyalty. 

After the Cuban campaign General Wheeler was 
sent to the Philippines, with rank Brigadier Regu- 
lar army. He died not long after his return to the 
United States — Brevet Major General U. S. Army. 
He was buried with distinguished honors in th^ 
National Cemetery at Arlington, Virginia. 

War with Spain was enough to inspire the poet?., 
and they did not neglect the opportunity. Listen 

287 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

to Jas. Lindsay Gordon as he tells of "Little Joe 
Wheeler" at the storming of "San Juan Hill," in 
front of Santiago. 

"Into the thick of the fight he went, pallid and sick 

and wan. 
Borne in an ambulance to the front, a ghastly wisp 

of a man; 
But the fighting soul of a fighting man, approved 

in the long ago, _ 
W^nt to tho front in that ambulance, and the body 

of Fighting Joe! 

• •** *** * 

From end to end of the long blue ranks rose up the 
ringing cheers! 

And many a powdered-blackened face was fur- 
rowed with sudden tears — 

As with flashing eyes and gleaming sword, and 
hair and beard of snow, 

Into the hell of shot and shell, rode little old Fight- 
ing Joe!" 

**** *** * 

A last word about Resacca. A Professor of His- 
tory in a Georgia College was selected to write 
"Georgia's Confederate History." There is a series 
of volumes entitled "Confederate History." It is a 
flimsy affair, like many other hastily constructed 
works of the kind; written by men who were not 
participants in the struggle. It purports to have 
been edited by General Clement A. Evans; than 
whom no state produced a better soldier, or a more 
reliable writer of the scenes in which he played a 
part. But General Evans was not in the Atlanta 
Campaign: and knew nothing about it except 
through others. The aforesaid History mentioning 
the fight at Resacca on the 9th of May, 1864, says- 
"The Georgia Cadets fought well." I supose he 
meant my Regiment and Battalion, as the "Georgia 
Cadets" did not join us until some time after. I am- 

288 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

obliged for the praise; but object to being put in 
the Cadet Glass, 

The Georgia Cadets were mere boys, from four- 
teen to sixteen years of age ; they proved themselves 
a good fighting unit; made up of pluck, enthusiasm, 
good drill and discipline. But they were not vet- 
erans. I suppose the mistake was made from the 
fact that my commands went into the service late, 
and a superficial investigation showed that a new 
Georgia Regiment did the fighting! 

My Regiment (66th Ga.) and the 26th Ga. Batt. 
were officered by veterans — men appointed for their 
fitness and efficiency. At least one half of the pri- 
vate soldiers had seen service. Under the discipline 
of the Regulars the Command was reliable. 

Cadets from the Virginia Institute, under the 
command of their Commandant Colonel, Scott 
Shipp, captured and charged a Federal Battery that 
was defended with marked bravery at Newmarket, 
in the valley of Virginia, during the Civil War; an 
action deciding the issue of the battle. This was 
one of the most brilliant feats of arms in our war. 

The day I left General Wheeler we reached 
Adairville; and it was thought we would have a 
hard fight there; but no, we moved on to Gassville, 
leaving Wheeler to hold the enemy in check as best 
he could. 

This was the 17th of May; and we had been 
under fire nearly every day since the 9th. 

We were re-enforced here by the remainder of 
Polk's Corps from Alabama and Mississippi, mak- 
ing General Johnston's total effective officers and 
men, with the Georgia Militia, sixty-four thousand 
four hundred fifty-six. That is enough men to form 
a line (front and rear rank) about six miles long 
with a proper reserve and skirmishers (Hardee). It 
took about five thousand men to the mile to form 
a line properly. 

In marching "by fours," thirty thousand men 
would occupy from six to ten miles of road, accord- 

289 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

ing to amount of artillery and wagons they had 
along. Therefore a General in moving his army, 
tried to advance or retreat by parallel roads. 

When his army reached Kingston, General John- 
ston decided to give battle to Sherman. One of 
Sherman's corps was at Rome, twenty miles away, 
and this, with the re-enforcements just arrived, left 
in Sherman's favor* a very small difference in num- 
bers. Our army was rested, and in good spirits, 
and anxious to ilieet the enemy, so when we heard 
our leader's spirited and confident battle order read 
on dress parade, for the morrow, it was heartily 
cheered, for \ve all had great contldence in General 
Johnston. 

The next morning Hardee's Corps, went into line 
just North of Kingston, and on the left. I remember 
that we were well pleased with our position, and 
were watchiilg the Yanks coming up, and deploy- 
ing in our front; but before they got near enough 
to join battle, we were again ordered to retire. 

Major General Thomas in his report to Sherman, 
says, ''Iwatched from a hill, Hardee's Corps retire] 
by brigades-en-eschelon. The precision of their 
movements was a beautiful exhibition of mil- 
itary tactics." 

Generals Hood and Polk were not satisfied with 
their positions; said Sherman could get on their 
flanks, and enfilade them; protested against John- 
ston fighting on that line, and so Johnston was com- 
pelled to relinquish the only oportunity that was 
offered him to strike with advantage. All the way 
from Dalton to Atlanta — Hood complained about his 
part of the lines we would form as being enfiladed, 
flanked, untenable. 

That day We marched through Gartersville, and 
crossed the Etowah river. General Johnston decided 
to make a stand at Altoona Pass, on W. & A. Rail- 
road. Sherman had no idea of attacking him in 
that stronghold; he was acquainted with the topog- 
raphy of the country, having passed over it on a 

2m 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

survey when a young man. Therefore Sherman 
flanked from Gartersville, West towards Dallas; and 
his troops that were at Rome, advanced to make 
a junction via Van Wert. 

On the 25th of May General Thomas' Federal 
Corps was moving from "Burnt Hickory" towards 
Dallas; his troops marching on three roads. Hook- 
ers Division in the advance. General Joe John- 
ston's whole army was on the move, expecting to 
occupy a line taking in Pine and Lost Mountains. 

Sherman was anxious to catch Johnston out of 
his works. Johnston expected his cavalry to hold 
Thomas for several hours at Pumpkin Vine Creek; 
but Thomas brushed them away quickly, advanced 
rapidly, and caught Hood on the move at New Hope 
Church: where three roads from Ackworth, Mari- 
etta, and Dallas, meet. Stewart's Division of Hood's 
Corps were preparing to go into camp. 

General Geary's Division of Hooker's Corps was 
in the ad\^ance. They drove in Stewart's skirmish- 
ers, and rushed in, crying, "Now we have caught 
you out of earthworks!" Geary was repulsed with 
considerable loss, but renewed the charge, time and 
again, without success; losing heavily and inflict- 
ing but little damage. In the meantime Hooker's 
whole corps arrived, and was deployed. It was 
then nearly four o'clock P. M.; but Sherman wanted 
to secure possession of the cross-roads at New Hope 
Church, and ordered a bold push to be made to se- 
cure the coveted position. 

General Johnston sent our Division (Walker's) 
there as rc-enforcements. We went In the second 
line and lay down. The battle continued to roar in 
front; although it ivns very dark; and the down- 
pour of rain was something fierce. We hugged the 
ground. The minnie balls passed not more than a 
few inches it seemed to me above our necks. Hooker 
was repulspd, after losing heavily. 

Afterwards the Yanks always spoke of Now Hope 
Chmxh as that "Hell Hole". General Johnston says 

291 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

he did not think New Hope Church a strategic point, 
hut he was compelled by the proximity of Sher- 
man's army in his front, to fortify, and to hold the 
position until the 4th of June. 

It was evident that Stewart's Division had im- 
proved wonderfully in morale, since Missionary 
Ridge. Some Northern writers attribute Sherman's 
defeat at "New Hope Church" to the darkness, the 
rain and the fact that Hood had earthworks. After 
the fighting ceased that night, Hood constructed 
earthworks, expecting that Hooker would attack 
him next morning. After this battle, our Division 
(Walker's) was moved to its position on the Lost 
and Pine Mountain line. On June 11th, Hardee's 
Corps occupied the left of that line, extending 
across the Marietta and Dallas road. 

On the 14th of June my Regiment had just com- 
pleted cutting down the pine saplings that a negro 
force, and the Georgia militia had planted in the 
earthworks they had constructed. That manner of 
defence was the conception of Governor Brown, to 
keep Sherman from advancing any further South 
in Georgia, {a kind of Chinese ivall). 

I was standing on the public road leading out 
from Marietta, which passed through my works. 
General Joseph E. Johnston and stafY, and Lt. Genl. 
Leonidas Polk and statT passed by; going to the 
front to take an observation. 

In a very short time. I heard one cannon report, 
and in a few minutes General Polk's body was 
borne by on a stretcher. Of this Sherman says. "I 
saw what I took to be a squad of Cavalry and or- 
dered an officer to take a shot at them." Which 
he did, with the result as stated." 

As one of the representative families of the South, 
a brief sketch of the Polks is here inserted. Lt. 
Genl. Leonidas Polk was born in Raleigh, N. C, 
1806. After his graduation at Chappell Hill, he was 
appointed to a cadetship at West Point in 1823. 
After graduation there, he resigned his Lieutenant's 

292 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

commission in the army to study for the ministry. 

He says his father was very much dissatisfied 
that he did not continue his military career. Said 
he: "My son, I am afraid you are spoiUng a good 
soldier to make a poor preacher!" However he per- 
severed and was finally ordained a minister of the 
Episcopal Church at Richmond, Virginia, 1830. He 
removed to Tennessee 1838 and was appointed by 
the Episcopal convention a missionary bishop to 
the south-west, including Arkansas, Mississippi, 
Alabama and Indian Territory. 

He was confirmed Bishop of Louisiana 1841 and 
moved to New Orleans. His greatest life work, how- 
ever, is "The University of the South," at Sewanee, 
Tennessee. He obtained a charter in 1858 and ever 
afterwards was untiring in building up that great 
educational institute. 

General Polk was a great man; but not eminently 
so in a military sense. President Davis had much 
confidence in his churchman's military ability and 
upheld him to the last. But a fair investigation of 
his record in the army, as a General and in the 
Church as a Priest, makes it evident that there was 
a very eloquent, earnest Bishop, spoiled to make an 
ordinary General. 

As to General Polk's services in the Civil War, 
they were creditable and patriotic to his section, if 
not successful. He commanded the Confederates 
at Belmont, Missouri, and a Division at Shiloh, Per- 
ryville, Murfreesboro, and a corps (right wing) at 
Chickamauga. His death was greatly lamented 
North and South. He was universally loved; was 
adored by his own church, who as a body (be it 
said to their honor) steered clear of sectional hate 
and prejudices. 

Bishop Polk was of that celebrated Scotch-Irish 
stock which settled the tier of counties around Char- 
lotte, N. C, in the 18th century. He was the son 
of Maj. Willicim Polk, who was a schoolmate of 
Andrew Jackson and who, Jackson says, was the 

20 293 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

first man wounded in tlie South after Lexington. 
He was shot in a skirmish with the Tories. 

Bancroft says, "It was certainly creditable to 
the Scotch-Irish of North Carolina, as they were 
first to secede from the Mother-Gouritry; and so if 
feriidined that the blood of one of their sons was 
the first shed South in the cause of Liberty." Major 
Polk also received a; wound on the cheek in the 
Battle of Germantown, the day his commander, 
Gen. Nash of the North Carolina brigade, was killed. 
Polk was a captain then, and was in charge when 
the "Liberty Bell" was removed from Philadelphia 
on the aiDproach of the British. Major Polk's father, 
Col. Thomas Polk, cornmanded one of the North 
Carolina regiments in that battle, and before had 
feeeii prominent in the Revolution as chief of sub- 
sistence North Carolina troops. 

This Colonet thomas Polk, the grandfather of 
our General Leonidas Polk, was the leading spirit 
of the "Mecklenburg Convention" which adopted a 
"Declaration of Independence" May, 1775. 

His grandson;, I)r. Williain Polk, son of Bishop 
Polk, claims the aiithorship of that Declarg.tion for 
Col. Thomas Polk. The best authorities, however, 
say that the honor is due Col. Polk's son-in-law. Dr. 
Ephfainl Brevard. The Bishop's father, Maj. Wil- 
iiarh Polk, was a participant in the battle of the 
Cowpens, where his brother, Thomas Polk Jr., lost 
his life. 

He was with Gen. Davidson when the latter was 
killed by Cornwallis' men, as they forced their pas- 
Siage over the Catawba river at Cowan's Ford. 
Afterwaf*ds, as one of the first representatives of 
Davidson County in the North Carolina Legislature, 
through his efforts the "Salt Lick District" was 
called "Davidson County" and the town "Nashville" 
in honor of the generals uridet" whom Polk served 
ih the Revolution. 

Lt. Genl. Leonidas Polk was a cousin of President 
James K. Polk, whose administration stands as th<^ 

294 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

fhost Mliant ifi the annals of our country; marked 
by so many h'istorical events from 1845 to 1849. 
Some of these were— the Oregon Boundary dis- 
pute settled with England; War with Mexico com- 
menced 1846 and triumphantly closed, resulting in 
the acquisition of California, New Mexico and 
Texas'. 

President Jariies K. Polk was born in Mecklen- 
burg County, North Carolina, in 1795. Represented 
the Hermitage district in the United States Congress 
for fourteen (14) years. Was Speaker two terms, 
24th and 25th Congresses. He won distinction by 
his readiness in debate. Was Governor of Tennes- 
see. Elected President of the United States 1844, de- 
feating Henry Clay. 

The Polks, especially Leonidas, like nearly all of 
the Scotch-Irish people of prominence, had favored 
gradual' emancipation and took much interest in 
the "African Colonization Society," a measure of 
boundless wisdom and humanity, mentioned else- 
where. This movement the Abolitionists destroyed 
by their diabolical misrepresentations and violence. 
It will be reniembered that William Loyd Garrison, 
their leader, said: "t am opposed to colonizing the 
negroes. I want to keep them here when freed; to 
show that they are equal to the whites." NOTE— 
There are still fanatics about the negro, who will 
always want to keep them here to agitate over. 

Samuei Polk, the father of President James Knox 
Polk, married Jane Knox of Iredell county. North 
Carolina. Her father was a captain in the Revo- 
lutionary Army, ite moved with his family to 
Maury Courity, Tennessee, and settled on Duck 
River. About that time all of the Polks came to 
Middle Tennessee from North Carolina, save one 
brancfi, w^ich settled in the Mississippi Valley. 
Brig.-General Lucius E. Polk was another of that 
family who made a brilliant record in the Confed- 
erate Army. His Brigade was in Cleburne's Di- 
vision. 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

The founder of the Polk family in America was 
Robert Polk, a man of prominence in Ireland. He 
was of Scotch blood and came to America to avoid 
religious persecution. He married a Miss Gullet. 
Thomas and Ezekiel Polk, of Revolutionary fame, 
already mentioned, were born in Ireland. 

On the 17th of June, further flanking movements 
of Sherman, compelled Johnston to abandon the 
Lost and Pine Mountain line, and to fall back. On 
the 19th of June he occupied the earth-works that 
had been built from the W. & A. Railroad running 
across Big and Little Kennesaw Mountains west, to- 
wards Powder Springs, known as the "Kenneshaw 
line." 

Hardee's corps occupied the left of this line, ex- 
tending across the Marietta and Powder Springs 
road. When I reached the line on the lefL it was 
night, and my regiment was moving to the right 
and to the left to find out proper position. I was 
met by my brother-in-law, Colonel Geo. H. Hazel- 
hurst, a distinguished Civil Engineer, who was on 
Hardee's staff. He and others, had been back there 
laying ofT the new line, and building the earth- 
works with a large body of negroes. 

Col. Hazelhurst would hunt me up occasionally 
(as he could move about at his pleasure) to see 
how I was getting along, and that he might let them 
know at home. I did not have the opportunity to 
write often to my dear mother, father and sisters, 
who were more anxious about me than I was about 
myself. 

After he had told me all the news from homu-, I 
asked him about the new line. He said it was ex- 
cellent except at two or three ooints, (wo miles from 
thence, where the contour of the ridge was such 
we were compelled to have salients. He said, "I 
hope you won't get into one of them, as there the 
main fighting is apt to be." I said : "H does not 
make much dilTerence with me; but I do not sup- 
pose we will get that far tonight." That night we 

296 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

continued to march and countermarch in the dark 
until finally the order came, "Halt! Front I Stack 
arms! Break ranks! Go into camp," and in a short 
time supper was cooking, and places to sleep ar- 
ranged, as best we could, for we had no tents, and 
the wagons were not up. 

The next morning early I moved up, to occupy 
my place in the works. I found we were in one of 
those salients (a curve in the line of works). The 
one I was in was to the right of the one Imown as 
the "Dead angle," which was occupied, and de- 
fended so gallantly by Cheatham's Division. 

The day we occupied this line, the enemy came 
up, and built breastworks in our front. But our 
extreme left, held by Cleburne's Division, being un- 
fortified, invited attack. The enemy opened a fierce 
cannonading on that part of the line, which was 
commanded by Brig.-Gen. Lucius E. Polk — Gen- 
eral Cleburne was commanding our Corps, in the 
absence of General Hardee. It was in this tremen- 
dous cannonading that General Polk was wounded. 
His leg was almost torn off by a piece of shell. 

Said one of the litter-bearers: "We carried him 
to Cleburne's headquarters. Cleburne came forward 
and asked General Polk if he was badly wounded 
Polk answered, laughingly: 'Well, I think I'll be 
able to get a furlough, now!' General Cleburne 
dashed a tear from his eyes, exclaiming 'Poor fel- 
low!' and galloping at once to the front, he ordered 
an immediate advance of his Division — which drove 
the enemy back two miles." 

General Lucius E. Polk, one of the distinguished 
family already alluded to, was Cleburne's favorite 
officer. He was reared in Maury County, Tenn. At 
the outbreak of the war he was operating a cotton 
plantation in Arkansas. He rose by gradual promo- 
tion from the ranks of an Arkansas Regiment — be- 
coming General Cleburne's most reliable officer. 

Sherman soon advanced his line of breastworks 
to within two hundred yards of ours; his Videttes 

297 



FOUR YEARS DN THE FIRING LINE 

and our Videttes occupying holes jDetween the main 
lines of works, at this point. The firing of the 
enemy was almost constant night and day, for 
seventeen days. 

My command would occupy the sg-jhent twelve 
hours, and then we were relieved by the 1st Con- 
federate (Infantry) Regiment of our brigade, and 
we would then take their place in the second line. 

The enemy made a general assault all along this 
line, on the 27th of June, but were repulsed every- 
where. Sherman says his loss was six thousand, 
including .two General Officers, (McGook and Har- 
ker). 

Johnston reports his total loss eight hundred and 
eight; officers and men. 

The loss in Walker's Division was slight; but 
many of ttie enemy lay dead in front of our works. 
Sherman's' main attack was directed against the 
"Dead Angle"— just on our left. There, he massed 
the flower of his army, many lines deep, to break 
through, turn our left, and get between Johnston's 
army and Atlanta. 

It was well Johnston had his best troops there ! 

The 1st and 27th Tenn. Hgts. — Maney's Brigade, 
Cheatham's Division — occupied the "Dead Angle." 
The Federals advanced gallantly, 27th June, through 
a shower of minnies and canister, and planted their 
oolors on the works. The fighting was hand to 
hand — desperate! But the attack failed. Many 
were captured; the rest driven back. But only to 
come quickly again — in greater numbers — and then 
these, too, were driven back, with even greater 
slaughter. 

All the commands were engaged — more or less — 
along Johnston's line, but this was the storm center 
of the most desperate fighting of the war — and it 
was held by Cheatham's Division. A hundred guns 
from the Federal line played upon the position; and 
many Yanks were struck by their own missiles, 

298 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

which continued to come after the blue lines had 
reached our works. 

Words cannot picture the gallantry of those Ten- 
nesseans ! It was ^rand — glorious ! It was the sub- 
limity of manhood! 

The position gained by all this fighting, Sherman 
might have seized any night — with small loss. The 
line 'he acquired was at the foot of the Ridge; not 
more than fifty yapds from our works. 

"The enemy threw up breastworks immediately 
— as it was night— and began tunnelling under our 
stronghold — getting ready to blow up the Angle. 
In the meantime, the Federal wounded were lying 
between' their lines and our works — crying for 
help." In speaking of this, Mr. Watkins says: "A 
wounded Yankee was lying just outside of our 
works begging piteously for water. A member of 
the Railroad Company, najned Johnson, jumped 
over the works and gave him a drink. Johnson was 
killed dead in his tracks. It matters not. The Good 
Pook sqLys:'"He that giveth a cup of cold water in 
My name, shall have his reward." 

T have n6 doubt that Johnson, the Good Samar- 
itan, is how reaping his reward, "in a land that is 
fairer than day"^with the good and just. In every 
instance where we tried to assist their wounded, 
our men were shot by the Federals. A poor wounded 
boy. not more than sixteen years of age, asked per- 
ipission to crawl over our works. When he had 
reached the top, and just as Blair Webster and I 
reached up to help him in, he was killed by his 
own men. They could not resist taking a shot at 
us — and hit hirp! He was taken back and buried. 
His name I know not. Doubtless he was some poor 
mother's darling." 

The fighting at this point reminded me of that 
in the R. R. ciit at Second Manassas. On both sides 
it was desperate! But at Marietta the Federals dis- 
played savagery in persistently firing upon their 
own wounded, and upon our relief-parties. 

299 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Throughout this whole campaign the regulations 
of Civilized Warfare, and the teachings of human- 
ity, were trampled under foot by the Federals — with 
open brutality. 

General Johnston offered to relieve Maney's Bri- 
gade. But the Tennesseans indignantly refused to 
be relieved; to yield their terrific post of honor! — 
theirs by right of superhuman will and endurance! 

"We expected the sappers and miners to touch ofT 
their powder under our feet. We expected to see 
Hell break loose in Georgia, sure enough! — All were 
resolved to hold that position, or die. 

The rest of the Brigade, in the second line, were 
to rush in to our succour, when the explosion took 
place. 

But after three days, General Johnston, as a re- 
sult of Sherman's flanking movements, thought it 
best to fall back to a line at Smyrna, near the Chat- 
tahoochee river. So, Mr. Yank's pyrotechnics were 
not pulled of!"." 

We erected bush arbors to keep off the sun; but 
we had to take the rain, which fell every day that 
we wer-" in the trenches here. When not repelling 
an assault, our time was occupied in reading and 
playing games. 

We would lean back against the earth next to 
the enemy. The works were made by digging a 
ditch four or five feet wide, and four feet deep, and 
throwing the earth up on the front edge; a large 
loer was placpd on top, resting on supports which 
raig'^d it high enough above the earth, to poke a 
rifle throuerh. These logs protected our soldiers' 
bpBds, when shooting. 

The Ladies' Relief Committee sent us newly pub- 
lished books. I remember reading "Les Miserables," 
and "Macaria," by Mrs. Augusta Evans Wilson. 
They were printed on brown Confederate paper. We 
also received the Atlanta and Richmond papers and 
thp dailv "Rebel," published at Marietta by Henry 
Watterson, ("Marse Henry") until he was squelched 

300 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

by Genl. Bragg's order. Bragg thought Watterson's 
criticisms demoraUzing. Sometimes a northern pa- 
per came through the lines. 

Most of the time my negro servant, Isaac, had 
to crawl into the trench with my dinner and some- 
times supper. I ordered him not to come in when 
the firing was particularly fierce. On such oc- 
casions, he would wait a little while, then thinking 
I was hungry, and wanting to be near me, he would 
run the gauntlet by crawling in. 

When I would scold him for this useless ex- 
posure, he would say, "You know. Mars Cooper, 
Miss Frances (alluding to my mother) charged me 
to look arter you. How'd I know, but you mout 
be hurt, in all dis gwines-on up here? And any- 
how I knowse you's hmigry!" This was an irre- 
sistable argument to me. I'd tell him, "Get out, you 
black rascal, before you get hurt, and then I will 
have no good cook." "Well, Mars Cooper, longs 
ise here, please let me shoot a few times." Some of 
the men would let him have a rifle and he w^ould 
shoot until I would make him stop. I don't know 
whether or not he "got" his Yank. He tried mighty 
hard, and always claimed he did. Our men only 
shot when they saw something to shoot at. I said 
one day, "Isaac, you oughtn't to shoot your friends, 
who are trying to set you free." He answered, 
"Whoo'ee.' Coming down here trying to kill my 
white folks, and take what deys got! I'se jest as 
free as I want ter be and a heap better off den most 
of dem poor white foreign trash." He was some- 
times caught within their lines while out foraging 
for our mess, but could easily slip back. A nigger 
could go anywhere! Within the "Blue" ranks, a 
black was as sacred a thing as a dog in Constan- 
tinople! 

Thomas Nelson Page says : "Of all the thousands 
of negroes who went out as servants with th^ir 
masters, I have never heard of one who deserted to 
the North, and they had abundant opportunity." 

301 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Isaac was my ov^ti age, raised by my Grandfather, 
Dr. Jjio. Wingfield. We had played together when 
boys at Madison, Georgia. He belonged to a lot of 
old Virginia family servants given to my mother. 
After the war this young fellow was killed by an- 
other waiter at the "Lanier House," Macon, Georgia, 
in a contest over a half bottle of wine left by one 
of the guests. 

But enough of this. The relationship between 
master and slave cannot be understood by this 
younger generation. The enemy's line was so near 
our works, we could "jaw at 'em." When they 
would fail in an assault, we would taunt them; 
when they would reply, "You'd better try our works, 
d — n you!" "All right, Yank; we will come over 
and get your Golonelsome of these cool evenings." 
Finally a few enterprising and desperate officers 
received permission to assault their works. They 
called for two hundred volunteers, who were read- 
ily obtained. Besides these, a number of men, equal 
to the number of Videttes in our front, were selected- 

Armed with Colt's Navy seven-shooters, self-cock- 
ing 44-calibre, they had instructions to crawl from 
our works and drop into the enemy's vidette pits, 
which Were not more than fifty feet from our vi- 
dette's. Each man was instructed to present his 
pistol to the vidette's head, and tell him (softly) he 
would blow his head off if he made any noise, and 
to do it if need be. The night was rainy and very 
dark. The scheme was successfully executed. The 
enemies' picket guard in our front were all cap- 
tured without noise. The two hundred picked vol- 
unteers dropped over our entrenchments; crept 
close to the enemy's works, and at a given signal 
dashed over them right into a Regiment of United 
States Regulars. They were taken completely by 
surprise. Their Colonel and a good many officers 
of the Line and private soldiers were captured, and 
hurried back into our line. The alarm had been 
given, and the supporting line was hurrying up. 

302 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

Just as our men dropped back over our works with 
their prisoners, the enemy opened fire, and made 
the night hideous with shot and shell. Major Ar- 
thur ShoafT, of our Brigade, commander of the 1st 
Battalion Georgig. Sharp-shooters, knew most of 
the captured officers, having served either in the 
U. S. Army, or West Point, with them. 

The officers and most of the men of ShoafT's Bat- 
talion were from Savannah. They had a splendid 
Brass Band; their Cornet player was the best I have 
ever heard. Late in the evening, after supper, he 
would come to our salient and play solos. Some- 
times when the firing was brisk, he wouldn't come. 
Then the Yanks would call out, "Oh, Johnnie, we 
want to hear that cornet player." We would an- 
swer, ''He would play, but he's afraid you will spoil 
his horn!" The Yanks would call out, "We will 
stop shooting." "All right, Yanks." The cornet 
player would mount our works and play solos from 
th6 operas, and sing "Gome Where My Love Lies 
Dreaming," or "I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble 
Halls," and other familiar airs from the operas. 
(He had art exquisite tenor voice). How the Yanks 
v/ould applaud! They had a good cornet player 
who would alternate with our man. 

At one tirrie a flag of truce was raised; the 1st 
Gonfederate Regiment occupied our salient. Gol. 
Ge6. A. Smith asked, "What do you want?" They 
answered, "To bury our dead lying between the 
works." He granted the truce, and while it lasted 
the men poured over the fortifications and mingled 
together fraternally. 'When General Johnston heard 
of it, he was hot sure enough! He hurried to our 
position and ordered the truce called ofT, and put 
Colonel Smith under arrest for transcending his 
authority. 

Thus when some three weeks had passed, Sher- 
man despairing of breaking our line by assault, 
again resorted to his "flanking tactics,'-' which he 
could safely do, "as re-enforcements had made up 

303 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

his losses, and brought his army up again to one 
hundred thousand effective men," as he himself 
says; "restoring the ratio of two to one, as in ^he 
beginning of the campaignl" By extending his 
right towards Powder Springs, and his left to Ros- 
well, he threatened our Railroad communications. 
Johnston had to abandon the "Kennesaw line"; and 
on July 2nd fell back to Smyrna. 

There he made a stand. His line then was half 
way between Marietta and the Ghattahoochie river. 
On the 4th of July, Thomas struck Johnston at 
Smyrna, and was repulsed. There was considerable 
fighting from day to day, until the 13th of July 
when Johnston's army crossed over to the South 
bank of the Chattahoochee, and went into camp. 

On the 17th of July, four days after we had 
crossed the Chattahoochee, General Johnston was 
standing on the fortifications of Atlanta, conversing 
with his chief Engineer. A dispatch was handed 
him; he read it without a change of countenance. 
It was an order removing him from the command 
of the army! He would "immediately turn over the 
command of the army to General Hood." 

At this time the retrograde of Lee from the Rapi- 
dan to Richmond had been approved by Mr. Davis; 
the corresponding movement of Johnston in Geor- 
gia, attended with more success, and ending in bet- 
ter advantages, resulted in Johnston's removal. 

General Johnston says that "one of his calcula- 
tions in resting at Atlanta, and there taxing the time 
of the enemy, was that he expected a considerable 
part of Sherman's army to be discharged, as the 
time for which the troops enlisted expired. This 
army had been formed in 1861 for three (3) years; 
the terms of many Regiments had been served out, 
and a very large number refused to re-enlist. But 
the capture of Atlanta came in time to relieve the 
Federal General. The inducement he offered was 
plunder. "The wretched Davis-Hood device which 

304 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

had uncovered these states, had recruited Sher- 
man's army." 

As we marched from the river towards Atlanta, 
18th of July, we heard of General Johnston's re- 
moval from the command of the army. 'Twas a 
sad day for us! We passed his Head-quarters. He 
stood with head uncovered. We lifted our hats. 
There was no cheering! We simply passed silently, 
with heads uncovered. Some of the ofTicers broke 
ranks and grasped his hand, as the tears poured 
down their cheeks. We knew that General John- 
ston had managed his campaign with skill. All that 
cculd be achieved, with the force and equipment he 
had, had been done. Flanked out of his positions, 
he had retreated with small loss of equipment and 
(paramount consideration!) the unimpaired con- 
fidence of his armij! The morale of his army at 
that time was as good as it could be ! General John- 
ston had proved on the campaign that he was un- 
rivalled as a master of logistics. 

But we also knew Hood. He was simply a brave, 
hard fighter. There were no better fighters than 
Hood's Division. There were few equals of Hood's 
Texas Brigade. There was no better Division com- 
mander than John B. Hood. But as the commander 
of an army in the field, he was a failure. The same 
mav be said of Burnsides, Fighting Joe Hooker, and 
others. It has been said of Hood, "He was a man 
with a Lion's Heart, but a Wooden Head." He soon 
demonstrated his incapacity to take Joe Johnston's 
place. JefT Davis unwittingly hit the Southern Con- 
federacy a heavy blow that morning. 

Johnkon would have held Atlanta, and the Peace 
Party of the North would have triumphed, and the 
war ivould have come to a close then on some terms. 

So evenly balanced were parties at the North that 
the Chicago Convention (1864) which nominated 
General McClellan for President, was bold enough 
to declare in the most deliberate manner, that the 
irar was a "failure," and to charge "Lincoln with 

305 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

being responsible for the war and the lives that 
had been lost." As to Johnston's plans to hold At- 
lanta, I will mention, that after Forrest had defeated 
an expedition undet* General Sturgis in Northern 
Mississippi, designed to protect and operate in Sher- 
man's rear; left that rear uncovered, and presented 
a line of one hundred and twenty-five (125) miles 
in Georgia uncovered. General Johnston dispatched 
to Richmond a request that Forrest's cavalry be 
trahsferred from Mississippi to destroy Sherman's 
Railroad line. Sut to his infinite surprise and 
alarm, his request was denied. 

Long before the close of the campaign of 1863, 
in the armies of Northern Virginia, as well as its 
historic antagonist, the army of the Potomac, in- 
trenching tools formed part of the soldier's regular 
equipment, as much as did his arms of offence. Yet 
the Confederate Government failed to furnish a suf- 
ficient quantity to the depleted army of Tennessee 1 
And for our defenses, now, our only chance was to 
substitute the inanimate clods for men. Gen. John- 
ston says: "We had not sufficient entrenching 
tools: a disadvantage for which all our advantages 
of selecting positions would not compensate!" And 
he added: "I would have given all the mountains, 
woods and rivers, that Sherman mentions as ray 
advantage, for a plenty of Sherman's ammunition." 
Some of our rifled shells would turn over and over 
as they proceeded. Many of our fuse shells failed 
to explode. I 

But in Virginia; it wa^ better; as much of the am- 
munition was Eftgtish, of captured. However, be- 
fore July 18th the' Federal Army lost in killed and 
wounded twenty-one thousand men, Johnston's 
army nine thousand nine hundred seventy-two. 
This is as Sherman reported, but Johnston says he 
did not include the acHon of 27th of May, when he 
(Sherman) lost four thousandl 

Besides the numerical superiority of more than 
two to one, Sherman had two hundred fifty-four 

306 



ATLANTA CAMPAIGN 

pieces of artillery. Johnston one h'tindfed forty-four. 
Johnston's artillery was as inferior to Sherman's in 
caliber, range and ecjuipment as in numbers. Buf 
the serious defect w£ts the meager ammunition sup- 
ply, which compelled our artillerists to endure the 
incessant poundings of their rivals with rare replies- 
General Johnston had to save his ammunition for 
the assaults arid con^bats of actual battle. 



BATtLES OF P£:AGHTREE GREEK AND 
ATLANTA. 

Hardee"s Corps rharched to Atlanta and occupied 
the breastworks. On the 20th of July we fought 
the battle of Peachfree Greek. Stevens' Brigade 
moved out of the works on the Peachtree road. We 
were told that the enemy had just crossed Peachtree 
Creek that morning; and were unfortified. My 
Regiment formed into line of battle on the left of 
the'' Brigade; my left resting oh the Peachtree road. 

We advanced, and drove in the enemy's skirmish- 
ers. There was A considerable gap on my left. I 
protested against advancing until this gap was 
filled, but the order was given — and the line went in 
with a rush! Right up to well-constructed earth- 
works! 

My Regirnent, and the Regiment oh my right, 1st 
Ga. Confederate Infantry, captured the works in 
our front. But we were not supported. The enemy 
on my left, not being assaulted, continued to en- 
filade my Une. Seeing fresh troops being rushed 
up against us, 1 was certain we could not hold the 
position. This was near the bridge crossing Peach 
Ttee Creek. Our Brigade commander, General Ste- 
vens, rode in, ordered me to fall back, and was 

307 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

killed as he gave the order. I ordered the Regiment 
to fall back. Captain Briggs Moultrie Napier, and 
Captain Chas. J. Williamson, both received wounds 
in carrying General Stevens' body from the field. 
Lt. Chas W. Gray was wounded, Captain Thomas 
Parkg of the Newton County Co. was killed. A 
noble, efficient, brave soldier. Never was I under 
a heavier fire than there — for a brief time. 

I thought I would certainly see my "Valhalla" 
that day. Lost one-fourth (25 per cent) of all my 
officers and men engaged. The firing from both 
the front and flank was terrific. We abandoned the 
works, and fell back a short distance, as ordered. 

Met Lowery's Mississippi Brigade, of Cleburne's 
Division, going in. If they had come up sooner, we 
could have held our captured works. General Low- 
ery said: "Colonel, you must be mistaken about 
the enemy being fortified. General Hood informed 
me that they had just crossed the creek." I told 
Lowery that was a mistake, and offered to deploy 
mv regiment and uncover the enemy's position, 
which was accepted. I deployed, and drove back 
their skirmishers who had advanced as we fell 
back. I halted my line in full view of their breast- 
works, and waited for Lowery to come up. After 
viewing the situation, he agreed with me, that it 
would be a useless waste of lives to assault their 
w^orks again, with what force we had. We returned 
to our original line. 

It will be seen that the enemy had crossed the 
Peachtree Creek the evening before, and fortified; 
and that Hood was acting on misinformation. The 
fight was a miserable affair on his part, from start 
to finish; in which for the want of concert of ac- 
tion, the army lost many valuable lives and accom- 
plished nothing of benefit. 

The next day I was appointed Division Officer of 
the day, with instructions to withdraw my pickets 
that night, very carefully, and join Walker's Di- 
vision on the McDonough road; which T did suc- 

308 



PEACHTREE CREEK AND ATLANTA 

cessfully. We were very close to the enemy's pick- 
ets. I had to go along my outposts and give the 
order to each regimental ofTicer commanding them. 
I was afraid to divulge the order generally for fear 
some craven fellow might desert, and give away the 
whole movement to the enemy. 

The night was very dark. I dismounted, tied my 
horse, and crept up cautiously to our line of Vi- 
dettes. I then commenced going down the line, 
notifying the officers to withdraw. But in going 
around some obstruction in the swamp, I lost my 
way. I knew that I was close to the enemy's line, 
ind tried to be careful. A rotten stick broke under 
my foot, I quickly dropped down by a tree. A Yank 
standing not more than twenty feet away heard the 
noise, and fired in my direction. His bullet struck 
the tree just above my head. I saw him standing 
a few yards off, and was greatly tempted to put a 
Colt's 44 through him; but it was no time to make 
a racket. 

I was between the lines ; but got back safely, and 
proceeded with my work until the whole line was 
withdrawn without detection. I couldn't find my 
mare. As I was looking for the place I hitched her, 
a squad of our pickets came along leading a horse. 
It was my mare. They said they had caught her 
running over to the Yanks. The next morning early 
we passed down Peach Tree Street on our way to 
join Walker's Division on the McDonough road. 

Sherman was shelling the city. The fine resi- 
dences had been hastily abandoned; the ovmers 
leaving their lares et penates behind in their hasty 
flight. We were resting; the men lying about on the 
street and sidewalks. One of the men. a tall, lanky 
"rube," was stalking up and down the sidewalk, 
oblivious to bursting shells, eating "hard-tack." A 
voice from one of the trees said, "Give poor Polly 
a cracker!" The country youth stopped, and looked 
around. Again, "Give poor polly a cracker," came 
from the tree. Finally he spied the parrot, and said, 

21 309 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

"Gee Whilkens, boys, damned if the world hain't 
coming to an end! Even the birds are talking and 
begging for bread." Looking up he addressed the 
parrot: "Sure you are a mighty smart bird, and 
I'm sorry for you, but you go to hell! This is the 
first cracker I've seen for two days!" 

We marched on through the city, and rejoined 
our Division (Walker's) on the McDonough road. 
On the morning of the 22nd of July, General Hood 
hearing that Sherman had extended his left to take 
in the Georgia Railroad at Decatur, sent Wheeler 
there; who charged in on the Yanks, and routed 
them; capturing their wagon train and many pris- 
oners. In the meantime, Hardee's Corps was on the 
move to attack the enemy who had crossed the Rail- 
road between Decatur and Atlanta. Walker's and 
Bate's Division finding they were proceeding in the 
wrong direction, had to change front in an old field. 
Much valuable time was lost. Gist's brigade be- 
came completely separated from the rest of our Di- 
vision. Major General Walker went to find it. Cle- 
burne's Division, however, proceeded, and killed 
Major General McPherson; who, reconnoitring in 
advance of his corps, rode into Cleburne's line, and 
on being ordered to halt, tried to escape. When Mc- 
Pherson found he was face to face with the enemy 
he should have surrendered when ordered to do so. 
As we advanced through the field (having cor- 
rected our alignment) the enemy could be seen, on 
or near the Georgia Railroad, placing a battery in 
position. Gists South Carolina brigade of Walker's 
Division had not yei come up, and the line halted, 
to wait for them. ' As I have said, General Walker 
(W. H. T.) had gone to find Gist and bring them 
up so a& to fill the gap between my left and Cle- 
burne's Division. In the meantime I received or- 
ders to move with Stevens's Brigade, which would 
advance with Bate's Division on our right. I rode 
over to see General Bate and asked that he would 
not advance until Gist's brigade caught up. I told 

310 



PEACHTREE CREEK AND ATLANTA 

him that there was a gap on my left, made by the 
absence of Gist's brigade. General Bate said that 
so much time had been lost, it was imperative that 
the line move forward without further delay. So 
when Bate moved forward, we advanced. Feeling 
an insecurity about my left, I put Colonel Hamilton 
in command of the center. Major Newton Hull in 
command of the right, and I went to the left. 

We had orders to push through a swampy branch 
to reform under the hill, and to charge a battery 
which was then playing upon us (I think this point 
was what is now Kirlrwood). There was a fence 
on mv left, separating the old field from the woods, 
a point not far from where General McPherson had 
been killed. I heard a slight noise over the fence, 
as men cocking guns, and looking I saw several 
Federal soldiers not more than ten paces from me 
in the act of throwing up their rifles to shoot. T 
fell down, and their shots went over me; and up 
my line, I heard some one say "Lt. Rogers is killed!" 
He w^as a most lovable young man, from Savannah, 
and a competent officer. 

The father of this gallant young officer, a prom- 
inent citizen of Savannah, Ga., mourning the loss 
of his precious boy, vainly searched for the spot 
where his boy had been buried; a search protracted 
for decades. The spot was never definitely identi- 
fied. The heartbroken father erected in Bonaven- 
ture a mausoleum to the memory of his brave, noble 
son. 

Lieutenant E:. H. Rogers, of Gapt. Briggs Moultrie 
Napier's Go., fell within two hundred yards of the 
place to the right — where Major-Gen. W. H. T. Wal- 
ker was killed. 

Lieutenant Rogers' death was followed by a train 
of singular events: a case of mistaken identity set 
up to torment the living. Several days after the 
battle, in a hospital in Atlanta, Dr. Geo. Little, State 
Geologist, was told by a soldier that Colonel Nisbyt 
had been killed in the recent battle. The man as- 

311 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

serted that he had assisted at the burial. Dr. Little 
being a friend of the Nisbet family, took his infor- 
mant out to the battlefield, and the man pointed out 
the grave described; where Colonel Nisbet had been 
buried. Little gathered some flowers from the vi- 
cinity and took them to my mother, in Macon. 

There scarcely remains a doubt that this was the 
grave of Lt. E. H. Rogers, for which search was 
made until the day of his father's death. 

Several saw me fall, and it was the impression 
of the Regiment that I had been killed. We had to 
pass through a marshy branch, that was a thicket 
of underbrush and briars. I worked my way 
through expecting to halt the Regiment and reform 
the line, under the hill. I was on foot, as all officers 
under the rank of Brig. General were required to 
go into battle dismounted. 

I thought the enemy's advanced line was up on 
the hill, but as I emerged from the thicket, was 
greeted by a volley from an Ohio Regiment (39th 
Ohio Infantry) that was lying down — their left not 
more than forty yards away. Some ten men of my 
left company came out into the field with me. The 
shots passed over our heads, but we were surrounded 
in an instant by a great number, who had broken 
ranks, all exclaiming, "You are my prisoner!" I 
was in full uniform. They thought from the stars 
on my collar, that I was a General. Seeing that the 
jig was up with us, at least for a while, I stood still 
and said nothing. The battle was roaring all 
around. There was a contention among my captors, 
as to who had captured me, and as to my rank. 

A young Lieutenant took hold of my arm to at- 
tract my attention (as I stood watching the battle 
surge around us) and said, "I say, you are my pris- 
oner, ain't you?" I said, "It looks that way." He 
said, "Well you don't seem sheered about it!" I 
said, "I have captured thousands of your men, since 
the war commenced, and always treated them 
right." "I'll treat you that way," said he. 

312 



PEACHTREE CREEK AND ATLANTA 

No one had asked me for my sword and pisto], 
but my men had dropped their rifles. In the mean- 
time having detailed the young Lieutenant and a 
guard to take charge of us, the Federal brigade 
moved forward. Just then a rear skirmish line 
came along driving up stragglers. They were Ger- 
mans. One fellow spied me standing there; level- 
injs his gun at a charge-bayonet, he said, "Oh! by- 
tam youse jest the feller I'se been looking for. ' His 
eyes were fiercely gleaming. I drew my pistol and 
said "You stop right there. I will blow your dam- 
head off, if you attempt to bayonet me!" This at- 
tracted the attention of my Utile Lieutenant captor 
who was watching his brigade advance He turned 
and said, "What's the matter?" I said, "He wants 
to bayonet me." Seeing the German, he ran up to 
him and said, "You stick my prisoner, and I will 
chop vour dam Dutch head off." Then came up the 
German's fat captain puffing and blowing who 
recognizing his man said, "Vat for you stop here / 
The Lieutenant said, "He wants to stick my pris- 
oner " The German soldier said, "He ish no pris- 
oner, he vants to shoot me; mit his pistol His 
Captain said, "Say, you vants to keep out of de 
fi^ht- go on!" and he struck the man on the back 
with 'the flat of his sword. The Lieutenant said, 
"We must get to the rear." I told him that his 
brigade would strike one of our brigades (Gists ) 
thai was coming to fill that gap. /'Andji shower 
of bullets is going to rake this part of the field di- 
rectly " Just then the South Carolina brigade came 
up and commenced firing, and the minnie balls were 
whistling by us. I told the Lieutenant that we had 
bettpr lie down in a gulley that was close by. ihis 
we did; all piling in together. A stream of mmnie 
balls passing just over our backs. The Lieutenant 
said to me, "Now I see where you were mighty right ; 
we couldn't get off this field without getting hit J 
was hoping that the Carolina Brigade would drive 
the Ohio Brigade back. A large number of wounded 



313 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

men were coming back, some of whom got into 
the ditch. "How is the fight going?" asked the 
Lieutenant. "They are cutting our boys to pieces," 
answered a wounded man. Then there was a great 
"rebel yell." My captor jumped up, saying, "Your 
boys are driving our men back, we must get out 
of this, or I will be a prisoner." If that happens, 
I will treat you well," said I. I had strong hopes that 
our men would come up. However, I could not 
detain the Lieutenant any longer, and a lull coming 
in the shooting, we were marched off to the rear, 
and turned over to the Provost Guards, where we 
found a good many other Confederate prisoners 
who had been captured during the day. In this 
"battle of Atlanta" there were many acts of hero- 
ism. The capture of De Gress's Battery by the 42nd 
Georgia Regiment was a gallant deed of arms. 

The celebrated painting "Panorama of the Battle 
of Atlanta" vividly pictures the charge of the 42nd 
Georgia Infantry. It is in the Grant Park, Atlanta. 
The capture of the enemy's works and battery by 
Cheatham and Cleburne's Divisions was a tremen- 
dious martial exploit, as the Yanks fought desper- 
ately. 

My Regiment continued on in the fight and acted 
well their part; but did not lose heavily, as they 
did two days before at Peach Tree Creek. Major 
General W. H. T. Walker commanding our division 
was killed; leading the South Carolina Brigade. It 
was in the woods not far from where McPherson 
lost his life. I think he was killed by the brigade 
that had captured me. 

General Walker was born and reared in Augusta, 
Georgia, and was a veteran of the old Army. Served 
in the Seminole War, and in Mexico with distinc- 
tion (where he received a wound). Was wounded 
at Chickamauga. His death was a great loss to the 
Confederacy. Mourned by many personal friends, 
he was laid to rest in the city he loved so well, his 
birthplace; beautiful Augusta. I was guarded by 

314 



PEACHTREE CREEK AND ATLANTA 

the 6th Missouri Infantry on the Georgia Railroad 
leading from Atlanta to Augusta, Georgia. We were 
near what was known afterwards as "Kirkwood," 
the residence of General Jno. B. Gordon. 

The fight continued for some time after I was 
put under the provost guard. There was an en- 
terprising sutler dispensing Lemonade, Beer, Ice 
Cream and other luxtiries. This seemed strange to 
me. I was forcibly reminded of the difference in 
the resources of our Government and the United 
States. We were glad to get a sufTiciency of corn- 
bread, fat meat, sorghum and Rye-coffee. The next 
day I found that General Hood had failed to dis- 
lodge Sherman from the Georgia Railroad and that 
he had only two lines of Railroad leading into At- 
lant, viz, the Railroad to Macon, and that to West 
Point. 

The fine army of General Joe Johnston was thus 
decimated in five days, without any beneficial re- 
sults. The next day, the prisoners captured in this 
battle — about six hundred — were marched to Ma- 
rietta under the guard of the 6th Missouri Regiment, 
who treated us quite cleverly. We remained in Ma- 
rietta one night; the ladies there were very kind. I 
wrote a letter to my mother, which never reached 
her, telling of my capture. I suppose the the lady 
I gave it to could not get it through the lines. 

The next day we were carried to Chattanooga in 
box cars. The officers were put in the old jail on 
Market street, now used as an armory, which had 
been taken for a military prison. Here was every 
specimen of disgraceful humanity. A mob of rep- 
robates. Deserters, murderers, bounty-jumpers, and 
all the other ofTscourings of the world were jailed 
there: huddled together, until there was hardly 
standing room. 

A good looking, well dressed, young fellow, who 
said he was a professional "Bounty Jumper," 
scraped up an acquaintance with me. I did not 
repel his familiarity (and kindness) for right then 

315 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

I felt the need of a friend. He said he had plenty of 
money, the proceeds of bounties duly received and 
"jumped," and insisted on buying from the jail sut- 
ler anything I wished to eat. He said, "I am here 
under charges; and am to be court martialed." I 
thanked him for his kindness, and said, "Aren't you 
afraid you will be shot for your meanness?" "No;" 
said he, "I will get out; and jump another bounty; 
or go in as a "substitute" and desert. I'm out for 
all the skads in sight; ain't a-going to fight. Think 
your side is right, anyhow!" 

The next day we reached Nashville, and were 
marched out to the Penitentiary; which was also 
used as a military prison. Among the officers of 
our party was a young Lieutenant from South Caro- 
lina, who had been very argumentative with the 
guard all along the route. They discussed the con- 
stitutional right of secession, and he was vehement 
in the defense of his state's action, which at that 
particular place and time, I considered inapropri- 
ate. Penned up as we were in a box car, I was 
obliged to hear it. I had thought that argument 
was exhausted when we appealed to arms three 
years before. The little Lieutenant seemed to have 
come from the "fire e'ating" class; he impressed me 
as one who had an undue rice-eating mentality, and 
needed a corn-bread diet. However, when the great 
doors of the penitentiary opened to receive us, he 
said, "Boys, I don't know but that South Carolina 
was a little hasty!" 

• From there the officers, about thirty in number, 
were carried to Louisville. Our guard from the 
"front" had treated us quite cleverly; but we were 
turned over to the "Home Guards" (God save the 
mark!) When ivar comes, the man who has "Tory 
blood" in him, will show the "Cloven Foot." If he 
enters the military arm of his country's service, it's 
sure to be in the "Home Guards." It is natural for 
him to treat prisoners of war shamefully, as he can- 

316 



PEACHTREE CREEK AND ATLANTA 

not appreciate those who are brave enough to flght 
for their principles. 

From Louisville through Indiana and Ohio, wo 
proceeded to Sandusky; where we were taken across 
the Bay on the Gun Boat Michigan, to Johnson's 
Island, which was a Federal Prison for Confederate 
officers. 

As we passed through Indiana and Ohio many 
came to see us, and expressed sympathy for our 
cause, saying it was an unrighteous, unnecessary 
war. That they were for stopping it; on some 
terms. They told us they belonged to the "Peace 
Party." Our guard was very hostile to them, called 
them "Dam-Copperheads" and ordered them to 
"stand back." 



XXVI. 

A UNITED STATES MILITARY PRISON. 
JOHNSTON'S ISLAND. 

The Sandusky papers had announced our arrival. 
So when we entered the gate of the prison, the pris- 
oners confined there were lined up in two rows of 
waiting, tense men. Among the new-comers might 
be — -Who? God alone knew! 

As we filed by the on-lookers discovered friends 
and relatives among the new arrivals. Those rec- 
ognized were promptly pulled out of the line. The 
rest of us were taken through the yard to "block 
13," which was used as a receiving and distributing 
depot for "fresh fish." The latest batch of prison- 
ers was always "fresh fish." Our men, on their ar- 
rival, were invited to join various parties, in differ- 
ent blocks. 

I went with Major Henry D. McDaniels and other 
Georgians to "block 11." Afterward, we received 
permission to move to "block 4." At our own ex- 
pense, we boarded off and papered a small room, 

317 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

about 10 by 15. There were eight of us in this 
"mess." I will briefly mentiorj each man. Major 
Henry D. McDaniel, 11th Ga. Infantry (Tige Ander- 
son's Brigade) was severely wounded in a rear- 
guard fight in Lee's retreat from Gettysburg. Since 
the war he has been twice Governor of Georgia. At 
his home, Monroe, Walton County, Ga., he now 
practices law. He is one of the Directors of the 
Georgia Railroad. 

Captain Dennis M- Sanders commanded a com- 
pany in the 3rd Geo. Infantry, Wright's Brigade. 
He was wounded at Gettysburg and had to be left 
there. After the war, Sanders taught school and 
published a temperance paper. He is now dead. 
Sanders was highly esteemed for his many virtues. 

Lieutenant RobeVt H. Couper of a Battery in 
Long-street's Corps, was so badly wounded at Get- 
tysburg he had to be left in the enemy's lines. Since 
iiie war, this gallant officer has been a successful 
planter, at Stilesboro, Georgia. He was born and 
reared on St. Simon's Island. 

Wm. D. Mitchell was Colonel of the 29th Georgia 
Infantry, Wilson's Georgia Brigade. He was cap- 
tured on Hood's raid to Nashville. He was a con- 
scientious soldier, and after the war practiced his 
profession — law — at Thomasvile, Ga. His death oc- 
curred a few years ago. 

Lieut. Alvin Freeman was wounded and captured 
at Gettysburg. After the war he was a legislator 
and solicitor general, Newnan Judicial Circuit. 

Captain '^Hamp" Wilkins of the Signal Corps, 
was captured during Lee's invasion of Penn. He is 
now Supervisor of the Georgia Railroad. 

Captain Columbus Heard, of Greensboro. Ga. (3rd 
Ga. Infantry) was wounded and captured at Get- 
tysburg. After the Civil War he was Judge of the 
County Court of Greene County, and in .the Georgia 
Senate. 

Cuvler King, 1st Lt. 1st BattaUon Georgia Sharp- 
shooters, was" my "bunk-made." He is the son of 

318 



U. S. PRISON : JOHNSON'S ISLAND 

Ihe late Hon. Tom Butler King, M. C, of St. Simon's 
Island. Lieutenant King was captured on Hood's 
raid into Tenn. We were personal friends. When 
he was brought into the military prison, I "pulled 
him out of the line" and took him to my heart and 
bunk! He was a thorough solder: he is a genial 
gentleman. Refmement and high breeding came 
to "Tip" King through a long line of noble ances- 
tors. It is a heritage. The man who can preserve 
a serene soul and polished bearing when "the blud- 
geonings of Chance" include a Military Prison, 
comes of the breed of Knights. 

"Tip" always carried himself as if old Johnson's 
Island had been a drawing-room! He now lives in 
Macon, Ga., and is engaged in the cotton business. 
He married my cousin, Miss Pet Nisbet, daughter of 
Judge Jas. T. Nisbet of Macon. Note. — Since the 
above tribute was penned Gapt. King has "passed 
over the river, and rests under the shade of the 
trees." 

To digress from my prison narrative: With my 
capture was ended the History of the 66th Ga. Reg. 
and 26th Georgia Battalion, so far as I can give it 
from personal experience. Lt. Col. Hamilton com- 
manded the Regiment, and led it gallantly in the 
battle of Jonesboro, and in the "Hood raid" on 
Nashville. 

At Franklin, Tenn., Colonel Hamilton was 
wounded in the head. The ball entering under the 
eye, passed completely through the head. He was 
thought to be dead when picked up after the bat- 
tle; but happily, recovered. After the war, Hamil- 
ton bred thoroughbred horses: they were trained 
and entered on the race-course. He was not a pol- 
itician, but was honored by his neighbors whenever 
he would accept office. He represented his district 
in the Senate. The old wound, received at Frank- 
lin, troubled him for many years: until his death. 
He died on his plantation, in Jones County, Georgia. 

319 



XXVII. 

GHAMBERSBURG. 

About the 1st of August, the Northern papers 
gave us an account of Early's march on Washing- 
ton; the battle of Monocacy and the burning of 
Ghambersburg. As this was the only "instance 
of barbarity" . the North has charged against the 
Southern Army, I give an account of it, and the 
collateral events which led up to this act of grim 
reprisal. 

In the Spring of .64 the infamous Dan Hunter, 
commanding a Federal army, invaded the Valley 
of Virginia," destroying the college and many pri- 
vate houses in Lexington — some of which belonged 
to his relatives: namely, Hon. Andrew Hunter; 
Ghas. J. Faulkner, whose wife was Hunter's rela- 
tive; Edmund Lee, cousin of Gen. Lee; Hon. Alex. 
B. Botteller, and others. Many other homes with 
all their contents, he burnt; on his route to Lynch- 
burg. The women and children of these house- 
holds were allowed barely time in which to make 
their escape from the flames. 

He made the home of General Anderson his 
headquarters, and to the ladies of General Ander- 
son's family he promised protection. After moving 
his troops off, he sent back a squad and had the 
house burned. A lady asked him why he destroyed 
the magnificent home of Genl. Anderson. He re- 
plied that Virginia women were worse traitors than 
their husbands; and that he would burn their 
homes over their heads to make them personally 
experience some punishment for treason. To an- 
other lady he said that he would humble the Vir- 
ginia women before he left the State. 

320 



CHAMBERSBURG 

General Early was sent to Lynchburg to meet 
him, with Ewell's Division. On Early's approach 
Hunter precipitately fled. General Gordon says, 
"His conscience must have made him flee. In my 
opinion his utterly causeless flight without a test 
of relative strength was caused by that 'inward 
monitor, that makes cowards of us all.' He saw 
an avenger in every Gray-Jacket. He was a rene- 
gade Virginian. Hon. R. M. T. Hunter and Major 
Robt. W. Hunter of my staff were his relatives." 

Early pursued him across the Potomac, and burnt 
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in retaliation. Of 
this, Brig. General Jno. McGauseland commanding 
Cavalry says : "On 29th of July, '64, I was ordered 
bv General Early to cross the Potomac with two 
Brigades of Cavalry, my own and Bradley T. John- 
son^s, proceed to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and 
there deliver to the city authorities a proclamation 
demanding $100,000 in gold or $500,000 in Green- 
backs; and in case the money was not furnished 
to burn the city. The proclamation also stated that 
this course had been adopted in retaliation for de- 
struction of property in Virginia by order General 
D. Hunter, specifying the houses and Colleges 
which had been burned and setting forth that the 
money demanded was to be paid to these parties 
as consideration for their property. It appears that 
the policy of General Early had been adopted upon 
his own initiative, and upon reflection, and was not 
the result of inconsiderate action or passion, as was 
alleged by the North. 

After capturing Chambersburg, I went into the 
town with my stafT and sent for the officials. They 
could not be found. I then directed the proclama- 
tion to be read to the citizens and informed them 
I would wait six hours and if the ransom did not 
come, I would burn the town. 

At the expiration of six hours, the most central 
block was fired first and then all houses, giving the 
people time to move out. 

321 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

I informed my command that it was an act of 
retaliation: justified by the circumstances." 

Vattel, in his "Law of Nations," says : "One party 
has a right to retaliate for misdeeds or acts of the 
enemy." The Duke of Alva executed the prisoners 
he took from the Confederates in the Netherlands.. 
They retaliated with similar measures; and thereby 
compelled him to respect the "Law of Nations." 

This act of Early was a great shock to General 
Lee; albeit it was in direct reprisal for the whole- 
sale destruction of the Virginia Valley, and the 
burning of Southern cities. It was alDhorrent to 
the principles w^hich General Lee instilled into his 
army. 

After the battle of Franklin, Major Newton Hull 
commanded my regiment, at Nashville and in the 
retreat thence. He was killed at Benacer's bridge, 
South Carolina; opposing Sherman's march 
through that state. He was buried where he fell. 
He was a nephew of Lt.-Gen. Hardee. His home 
was in Camden County, Georgia. He was a most 
excellent officer, and recklessly brave. After Hull's 
death the 66th Ga. was in that final battle of the 
War, Bentonville, North Carolina. There the rem- 
nant of Hardee's old Corps drove thrice their num- 
bers from the field. The 66th Ga. was then merged 
with the First Confederate Regiment, (Col. Clark 
Gordon). They were surrendered together, at 
Greensboro, North Carolina. 

It has been mentioned that the letter dispatched 
to my parents from Marietta, Ga., after my capture, 
failed to get through the lines. The report of my 
death reached them. I was mourned as dead. Miss 
Mary Day of Macon — afterward the wife of Sydney 
Lanier, the poet — received from Savannah a copy 
of the iSew York Herald containing names of pris- 
oners captured at the battle of Atlanta; with the 
names of officers sent to Johnson's Island. Later, 
my letters from Johnson's Island reached Macon. 

322 



CHAMBERSBURG 

I received letters from home regularly via City 
Point, Va. 

I had money to my credit in the hands of Col. 
Hill, commandant of the prison, which had been 
sent me by my cousins, Miss Margaret Nisbet and 
Mrs. Louis Le Gonte, of Washington, D. C, and also 
exchange for thirty pounds sterling sent by my 
friend, A. G. Wiley, of Atlanta, from Liverpool. He 
had learned of my capture from the American pa- 
pers. In regard to this transaction, I fmd among 
my "prison papers" the following: 

"Headquarters U. S. Forces, 
"Johnson's Island and Sandusky. 
"Johnson's Island, Oct. 12th, 1864. 
"Gol. Jas. Gooper Nisbet: E 
"Block 4" 
"Sir: 
"Yours of yesterday is received. The Draft was 
sent as stated in my last note to you, but has not 
yet been heard froni. It may possibly have gone to 
England before it could have been sold, in which 
case it will be two or three weeks before it can be 
heard from. When I went to the Bank day before 
yesterday I spoke about it to the cashier: he said 
he would write immediately, inquiring about it. 
"Respectfully, 

"L. G. DE WOLF." 
Mrs. A. G. Wiley was my cousin Lt. Gol. Hamil- 
ton's sister. The 30 pounds exchange was sold for 
$298.38 in greenbacks. Gold was then at a high 
premium. Exchange between the United States and 
England commanded a much higher rate of pre- 
mium than gold. This was owing largely to the 
operations of the Gonfederate cruisers "Alabama" 
and the "Sumter." 

Notwithstanding I had three hundred and fifty 
dollars to my credit, I was not allowed to purchase 
anything — for myself or friends — that would allay 
hunger. I was allowed to buy only stationery, 
stamps and tobacco. But I used most of the sum to 

323 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

help the sick and needv. after a surgeon's certificate 
had been obtained by the sufferers. 

I was Chairman of the Prison Relief Committee. 
My duty was to investigate the condition of prison- 
ers, and apply for permission through the sur- 
geon-in-charge. Dr. Everman. to buy food, blankets 
and clothing for the sick. They were dying at the 
rate of three or four per day! This, through the 
months of December and January. 

Later in the year there was a falling off in the 
tremendous mortality. 

I had boxes nailed up at each Block, with a writ- 
ten request attached to every box that they be made 
receptacles of meat and bread for the starving. Each 
day I went round and collected from the boxes, and 
gave it to those who needed it most. They scram- 
bled for it, poor fellows! 

From the original document, now in my posses- 
sion, I copy the above-mentioned appeal. 

"United States Military Prison. 

"Johnson's Island, Ohio. 
"Dec. 25th, 1864. 
"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN. 

"The undersigned having been appointed Chair- 
man of the 'Prison Relief Committee' by the Y. M. 
C. A. Johnson's Island Prison, takes this method of 
informing his fellow-prisoners of the design of said 
Committee, and the system adopted to furnish the 
needy with supplies sufficient to keep them from 
farther suffering. This Committee consists of one 
member from each Block, whose duty it is to solicit 
from ^.he different rooms contributions of any extra 
supplies of eatables which can be spared. In order 
to give as little trouble as possible, boxes for the re- 
ception of such supplies will be placed in conve- 
nient places about the Blocks. These suplies will 
be carried to the south end of the North Mess Hall, 
there to be distributed to those who call for them. 

"Therefore, all who do not get enough to eat are 
requested to call at the above-named place, when 

324 



CHAMBERSBURG 

the drum beats for Guard Mount. Much that is 
thrown away by those who are so fortunate as 
to have Northern friends, will be gladly received, 
and we believe that the generosity of such men will 
not be appealed to in vain, 

"JAMES COOPER NISBET, 
"Chairman Prison Relief Committee." 

In our little 10 by 15 prison room, we suffered 
less from the cold than the prisoners who were 
in large rooms, as we papered the walls. We could 
better economize our rations of wood, which were 
not sufficient in quantity to keep us warm for more 
than a few hours each' day. It was a very severe 
winter; the Thermometer standing below zero most 
of the time, and sometimes 20° to 30° below. The 
small amount of wood issued to us, in the after- 
noon, would give out (even when used most eco- 
nomically) by ten o'clock A. M, the next day. 
The prisoners then would have to exercise vio- 
lently in the yard, or lie in bed to keep from 
freezing. Oh, how we longed for the salubri- 
ous climate of Andersonville! The rations is- 
sued to us in the winter of '64 and '65 were 
not sufficient to prevent great suffering from 
hunger. Many died of pneumonia, superin- 
duced by exposure, (starved and attenuated as they 
were!) to the terrific cold. The reports of the United 
States Government show that the mortality in 
Northern prisons was greater than at Anderson- 
ville. These facts were established by the Hon. 
Benj, H, Hill of Georgia, in his memorable debate 
Avith Hon. James G, Blaine of Maine, in the House 
of Representatives January 16th, 1876. 

One thin blanket to each man was our protec- 
tion against the cold on Lake Erie! 

Most of the very severe winter of '64 and '65 this 
was the record. In battened board shells of houses, 
unplastered, unceiled; the battens dropping from 
the walls, and the winds whistling through the 
•cracks, we were. Insufficient rations were issued, 

22 325 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

as I have mentioned, and we were prohibited from 
buying food. Many prisoners went crazy. They 
wandered about the prison yards picking bones out 
of the sewer-ditches. Every rat that could be 
caught was devoured, voraciously. The conditions 
were even worse at Elmira, Rock Island, Camp 
Chase and Camp Morton, where the private soldiers 
were imprisoned. 

Federal prisoners who had been used to a full 
diet, kicked when put on the same ration given 
Confederate soldiers in the field. Their Northern 
friends demanded that the ration given Confederate 
prisoners be cut down. So Sec't'y Stanton issued 
an order to "cut." (June 20th, '64). Coffee and 
sugar were also cut off. Nor were we permitted to 
buy provisions. The ration was insufficient for a 
man in health. The Inspector's Reports show many 
cases of collusion between Commissary and con- 
tractor; the contractor was to do his own weighing, 
and to furnish inferior lines of eatables: thereby 
making the shortage still greater. 

The moneyed difference between the original ra- 
tion and the reduced one, was ordered kept for a 
prison-fund; and it seemed to be a matter of much 
pride with some of the Commandants to accumu- 
late as big a fund as possible from this source, for a 
hospital fund! 

I don't know what became of it; but I do know 
that the sick persons received no benefit from it! 
The prisoners had to use the most rigid system 
in issuing and cooking their scanty rations. Colonel 
File, of Nashville, was our Commissary man. He 
received the rations for the whole number of pris- 
oners, and had an assistant for each "Block," who 
issued the rations due each "mess" to the head of 
the mess. 

There was a long building with twelve cooking- 
stoves in it. Each stove was presided over by a 
chef and two assistants, selected by the prisoners of 
each Block, Captains and Lieutenants were called 

326 



CHAMBERSBURG 

to this high office. I don't think we selected any 
Generals! Rations were too scarce to risk 'em in 
the hands of Generals! 

The position entailed much work; and though it 
was without compensation, it was much sought 
after. We took "turn about" catering for our mess. 
One week was the caterer's term of office. 

As to health conditions, there were at all times 
many cases of smallpox in the Pest House. Scurvy 
raged: superinduced by the everlasting — though 
inadequate^ration of sail white-fish furnished the 
prisoners by the contractor, Johnson, for whom the 
Island is named. For the unfortunates that must 
consume it— that or nothing! — Johnson bought fish 
which had become too salt to be marketable. It was 
impossible to soak or boil the salt out. Of course, 
what we received was devoured ravenously. No 
vegetables were issued. Occasionally we were given 
salt pork or beef, in lieu of the fish ; and sometimes 
cornmeal. A small ration of cofTee and sugar had 
been issued, but that was discontinued after June 
20th, '64. 

Daily, a great tub of sulphur-and-lard was 
brought in, that the sufTerers from itch might 
anoint themselves. The poor fellows would have 
consumed, that, too, doubtless, but the sulphur 
would not down at their bidding! 

The caterer's duties consisted in preparing the 
food for each meal, taking it to the kitchen, and 
going after it when cooked. Setting the table, and 
cleaning up after the meal. In our "mess" this 
duty would come around every eighth (8th) week. 
We slept in bunks nailed to the wall, upper and 
lewer berths a la Pullman. When not too cold, the 
prisoners occupied their spare time playing games, 
reading, studying and plying their trades, such as 
tailoring, shoe repairing, etc. There were officers 
who taught the languages, Spanish, French and 
German, for which a small charge was made. Some 
made prison jewelry from gutta-percha and clam 

327 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

shells. Experts would inlay crosses, stars, brooches, 
etc.. with gold; which they hammered out from the 
coin. They had a ready market for it from curio- 
himters who visited the prison. As mentioned, the 
Federal surgeon was permitted to approve applica- 
cations of the sick for eatables. Gapt. Dennis M. 
Sanders of our mess was the only one we had who 
could pass the ordeal of "sick call". He was nat- 
urally thin, and cadaverous looking, so when sick 
call time came around we would bind up his jaws, 
and otherwise disfigure him, so that he would pre- 
sent the picture of a man in the last stages of tu- 
berculosis. Thus arrayed, supported by two others, 
he would be assisted to the doctor. With feeble voice 
he would tell the M. D. his tale of woe, and ask that 
he would approve an application for some rice, and 
a few other things he might eat. If approved, it 
was placed in a letter to some friend in New York, 
Washington, Louisville or Baltimore. After writing 
the letter in ordinary black ink, (which was in- 
spected) we would add in invisible ink, (using the 
juice of an Irish potato") the request that everything 
would be doubled in amount. When the donor 
sent the box, the approved application had to be 
put in. and on its arrival the articles were checked; 
if found too much, the surplus was confiscated. 
That is, when one of those goody-goody, very zeal- 
ous, over-righteous, "pizen" Yankee hypocrites hap- 
pened to be the Inspector (some of whom thought 
they were doing a God-service to starve a Gonfed- 
erate soldier to" death!) The use of indelible ink 
was forbidden. If a prisoner was detected using 
it, he was put on the "black list," and not allowed 
to correspond for a while. 

The use of this ink was detected by heating an 
occasional mail in the bakery oven. 

Johnson Island Prison was guarded by the 128th 
Ohio Infantry: a Regiment raised in the "Western 
Reserve" for "home guard" duty. It had never seen 
any service at the front, and therefore had no sym- 

326 



CHAMBERSBURG 

pathy for soldiers who had faced death in battle. 
To adhiire gallantry, in a foe, or to admit that he 
was honest in battling for what he held to be right, 
was beyond anything they could conceive. That 
we were Southerners was enough for them! With 
all such fellows, to be a Southerner was the unpar- 
donable sin! Most of them were absolutely brutal 
in their treatment of prisoners of loar. Repeatedly, 
they shot through the "blocks" when the lights were 
not extinguished promptly at nine o'clock P. M,, 
wounding and killing men lying in their bunks! 
One morning the Sandusky newspaper informed us 
that General John Morgan was raiding southern 
Ohio, and that the 128th Ohio Regiment was to be 
sent at once to capture him. The prisoners were 
delighted that this Regiment at last was to have 
a taste of real war. 

The tops of the "blocks" were covered with Rebs, 
yelling at the Regiment as it formed, and boarded 
the "Michigan" on its start for the front. "Oh yes! 
Now you've got to meet Rebs with guns in their 
hands! Bet John Morgan will git you." "Bet we 
will put him, and all his crowd, where you are," 
they answered. "Bet you come back without your 
guns," the "Johnnies" yelled back. 

Sure enough the 128th Ohio Regiment was cap- 
tured by Morgan, and paroled, of which the news- 
papers kept us informed. So, when they returned 
without arms, the Rebs taunted them unmercifully. 
The consequence was they were more venomous, if 
possible, than ever. 

During the winter several attempts to escape were 
made, when the Bay of Sandusky was frozen over. 
To accomplish this, scaling ladders were made, and 
kept hidden about the houses, under the floors. At 
night, at a given signal, a rush would be made for 
the fence, and the ladders placed against it. The men 
invariably got out. The guard would shoot and 
then run off the fence. Lt. Bowles, of Louisville, 
Kentucky, was killed in one of these attempts. A 

329 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

guard was killed, and several guards wounded, with 
pistols which the prisoners had contrived to get. 
Once over the high fence, the prisoners would run 
across the frozen bay, to the mainland. Some got 
to Canada; but most of them succumbed to the in- 
tense cold, and had to surrender to the citizens, who 
brought them back to prison, and received for each 
one a reward of thirty ($30) dollars. 

Gannon were fired, when there was an outbreak, 
and thus the citizens were put on notice. The prison 
was policed by regular details of prisoners, who 
performed that duty cheerfully, and kept it clean 
with care. 

There was a negro minstrel troup led by Milt Bar- 
lowe, since famous throughout the country as a 
negro minstrel. Then, he was an officer in a Ken- 
tucky Regiment (Confederate) and was brought 
there wounded. 

The Minstrel Troupe had some good talent in it; 
had a hall and charged a small amount admittance. 
The program was original. Caricaturing the Yanks, 
was the big card; especially depicting miscegena- 
tion. 

We had Chaplains, who had been captured, who 
preached regularly; and sometimes there were re- 
vival meetings held. The most noted of these re- 
vivalists was the Rev. Dr. Jerideau of Charleston, 
South Carolina. 

The more a man's interest could be enlisted in the 
things I have mentioned, the less he would brood 
over his condition. Therefore, there was much less 
siclmess and death among the educated than the 
ignorant. Among the latter, nostalgia got in its 
baneful work. 

The country was flooded soon after the war with 
books, and magazine articles about the military pris- 
ons at Andersonville, Richmond (Libby), Salisbury, 
Macon and Millen, written by Union prisoners who 
wished to pose as martyrs. Secretary Stanton 
strove to stultify the Southern people as a set of 

330 



CHAMBERSBURG 

brutes, and thus to lead the attention of the world 
away from the horrors of his own misdeeds and 
ferocious brutality. 

Some of them tell us about Johnson's Island, and 
other Federal prisons, w^here they say the prisoners 
fared sumptuously! But unfortunately for them, 
the facts published by the United States Govern- 
ment in 127 volumes of records, entitled the "War 
of the Rebellion," has laid bare their tissue of lies, 
and now the false statements of these fellows are 
relegated to oblivion. 

To the searcher after the truth and to the curious, 
I would say read "Gold Gheer at Gamp Morton," by 
Dr. Jno. A. Wyeth; who was one of General For- 
rest's aides, was a prisoner at Gamp Ghase, and is 
now one of the leading physicians and surgeons 
of New York Gity. 

After the war the South, for a long time, had no 
real representation in the halls of Gongress. Our 
great men were barred from holding ofTice; or even 
from voting. It was the custom of the Republicans 
to attack the South about her cruelty to prisoners 
of War, especially at Andersonville. To "fire the 
Northern heart" and keep her "solid." 

Ten years after the war, in 1875, the 9th Gongres- 
sional District of Georgia, elected the Hon. Benja- 
min H. Hill to the House of Representatives. I was 
in Atlanta at the time of the election and met Mr, 
Hill at the Kimball House. During a conversation 
about national politics, I said, "I hope, Mr. Hill, 
that you will reply, to these foul aspersions on our 
honor, and civilization." His reply was, "Gooper, 
on that subject / am loaded for bear." 

The next year January 10th, 1876, the opportu- 
nity ofTered. The Hon. Jas. G. Blaine of Maine, in 
a debate against the "Amnesty bill" January 10th, 
1876, having moved "to except Jefferson Davis from 
its provisions," said, "Mr. Davis was the author, 
knowingly, deliberately, guiltily and wilfully of the 
gigantic murder and crime of Andersonville; and 

331 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

I here, before God, measuring my words, knowing 
their full extent and import, declare, that neither 
the deeds of the Duke of Alva in the "low Goun- 
tri'es,'^ nor the massacre of St. Bartholomew, nor 
the thumb-screws and engines of torture of the 
Spanish Inquisition, begin to compare in atrocity 
with the hideous crimes of Andersonville." 

To this Mr. Hill made answer. Quoting entirely 
from the United States Government Records, (War 
of the Rebellion) he proved that the cartel for ex- 
change of prisoners was broken off by the United 
States Government; read General Grant's letter to 
Stanton, Secretary of War, advising it, for the rea- 
son, "that it would put forty thousand (40,000) 
Confederate Soldiers in the ranks." 

All these facts Benjamin H. Hill established from 
these "Records of the Rebellion". They contain 
every important order or document of the Union 
and Confederate armies and of their civil Govern- 
ments. 

The Confedeirate official papers could have been 
destroyed, but our people had nothing to conceal; 
they were turned over full and complete to the 
United States Government when Richmond was oc- 
cupied by the Federal forces. And let it be recorded, 
that these documents Were searched to find some- 
thing incriminating Jefferson Davis and other pub- 
lic men. There was nothing of the kind found. So 
after a while, it came to pass, that even the bitterest 
enemies of the Southern Confederacy were forced 
to admit as to the Civil Government of the South- 
ern Confederacy, 

"Her lips are pure, that never breathed a curse, 
Her hands are white, before the Universe." 

Mr. Hill proved from the Records that the Con- 
federate Government in attempting to renew the 
cartel, ofTered to exchange two prisoners for one, 
which was declined. That they asked the Federal 

332 



CHAMBERSBURG 

Gdvefnment to send medicines, and physicians 
tlirough the Hnes by Savannah, for Andersonville; 
and this the Federal Government refused to do ; and 
that Anally the Confederate Government offered 
(August 22nd, 1864) to deliver their sick and 
wounded without exchange to them at Savannah! 
which offer was not answered until December 22nd, 
the four months in which occurred at Anderson- 
ville the greatest mortality. Therefore, said Mr. Hill, 
if there was suffering and death at x\ndersonville, 
it lies at the door of the United States Government. 
He also showed from the United States Government 
records; that the mortality of Confederate prisoners 
in Northern prisons was greater than that of North- 
ern prisoners, in Southern prisons. And fmally that 
w^e gave our prisoners the same rations issued to 
our soldiers, in the field. Blaine could not reply. 
He was routed in this debate! His battery was si- 
lenced, with ammunition from the U. S. Govern- 
ment Records. 

Ben Hill said a grand thing when he confronted 
Blaine, exclaiming: "I tell you, this reckless mis- 
representation of the South must stop: and right 
here! I put you upon notice that hereafter when 
you make any assertion against the South, you must 
be prepared to substantiate it with proof!" 

That utterance was 

"The shot that echoed round the world." 

"Waving the bloody shirt" was popular with 
Blaines party at that time. — and the debate gained 
Blaine the nomination for the Presidency: only to 
lure him to defeat! The people were getting tired 
of "war lies." 

Since that meftiorable day we have heard no mor-; 
in the halls of Congress about Andersonville and 
"Southern atrocities." 

In conclusion, as to prisoners of war, what are 
the facts as brought out in the Blaine-and-Hill de- 
bate? 

333 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

First. The Federal authorities broke the cartel 
for the exchange of prisoners. 

Second. They refused to re-open the cartel when 
it was proposed by Alex. H. Stephens as a Commis- 
sioner, solely on the ground of humanity. 

Third, They made medicine a contraband of 
war, notwithstanding that no other nation ever did 
such a thing before, not even the "Duke of Alva." 
When Northern women tried to come through the 
lines with medicines, it was confiscated, if the 
smuggling was detected; and the woman impris- 
oned. It is well known that medicine could not be 
obtained except by running the blockade: and then 
only in small quantities. 

Fourth. They refused to allow surgeons of their 
own appointment to accompany their prisoners in 
the South, to carry food, medicines, raiment and 
«very comfort that the prisoners might need. Mr. 
Randolph (Virginia), Confederate Secretary of War, 
proposed that each side appoint a commissary gen- 
eral to distribute aid among, and look after, his own 
people in captivity. Mr. Stanton, Secretary of War, 
refused the proposal! The rage of the north, as 
expressed by Newspapers, turned with redoubled 
fury upon Stanton for his rejection of such a hu- 
mane proposition, and for his refusal to proceed 
with exchanges. 

Fifth. These refusals at the time, were excused, 
and recommended by high officials, as a part of the 
military policy, to let the prisoners suffer rather 
than to recruit the Confederate Armies! 

Sixth. Surgeon General Barnes, U. S. A., in an 
official report, made on the 19th July, 1866 (See 
Government Records) says, "In round numbers thf 
Confederate prisoners amounted to 220,000, whilst 
the Northern prisoners in Confederate hands 
amounted to 270,000; that 22,000 Federal prisoners 
died, and 26,000 Confederate prisoners; the per cent 
of deaths being 12% of Confederates and 9% of 
Federal prisoners." 

334 



CHAMBERSBURG 

If the degree of suffering is to be judged by the 
per cent of deaths (which is the surest criterion), 
this report proves that the Confederate prisoners 
suffered the most. 

Seventh. In 1864-65, Federal prisoners were per- 
mitted to buy nourishing food; at that period Con- 
federate prisoners were denied that privilege, and 
this is the time of their greatest mortality. 

The Confederate Government offered to turn over 
to the Federal x\uthorities, FREE OF EXCHANGE, 
all the sick and wounded prisoners in their hands. 
After waiting for more than two^ months for a re- 
ply to this proposition, and receiving none, the Fed- 
eral prisoners at Andersonville, smarting at being 
kept there by the Federal Government, on the 28th 
Sep., 1864, met in convention, and resolved: "That 
while allowing the Confederate Authorities all due 
praise for the attention paid to our prisoners, num- 
bers of our men are daily assigned to early graves, 
in the prime of manhood, far from home and kin- 
dred; and this is not caused intentionally by the 
Confederate Government, but by force of circum- 
stances." 

Notwithstanding all these facts, the North de- 
manded a victim, and Major Henry Wirz, an inno- 
cent officer, who happened to be commandant of 
Andersonville prison, was executed on the evidence 
of suborned witnesses, some of whom have since 
testified they swore falsely I Others have stated that 
Wirz did all he could under the circumstances to 
alleviate conditions. 

Major Henry Wirz was an educated officer, from 
one of the German Swiss Cantojis. The preponder- 
ating evidence seems to be, that while strict in his 
discipline, he was humane, and had been selected 
for his efficiency. 

Gen. Ben Butler, who had no reason to love the 
South, in a speech at Lowell, Mass., stated positively, 
that Stanton, Secretary of War, ordered him to "put 
forward the negro question, to prevent exchange." 

335 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

He furthel' charged Mr. Stanton as being "respon- 
sible for the cold blooded, and needless sacrific of 
Union soldiers in Southern prisons." The suffer- 
ings of Confederate prisoners were well known in 
England, seventy-five thousand dollars $75.00(3.00^ 
was raised there by means of Ladies' Bazaars for 
their relief; but Stanton refused to allow the British 
Agents to distribute the fund. 

It has never been denied, that there was at times 
suffering among the Federal Prisoners on account 
of a shortagp in rations; as there was also suffer- 
ing in Lee's and Johnston's armies from the same 
cause. The shortage was caused by a very inef- 
ficient Commissary General, kept in office at Rich- 
mond, in spite of all protests. 

It was his business to see that the provisions 
stored in warehouses at the Depots were conveyed 
to the army, and the prisons. 

Senator Orr of South Carolina, and others, at- 
tempted to procure his removal. "Gentlemen," re- 
plied Mr. Davis, "you do not Imow General Nor- 
throp as I do. I assure you he is a great militarij 
genius, and if he had not preferred his present po- 
sition, I would have given him the command of 
one of the armies in the field." 

Senator Foote of Tennessee in assailing Nor- 
throp's management, said, "He was a sort of a 
"Pepper Doctor" down in Charleston." So it seems 
that the Federal prisoners at Salisbury, and Libby, 
and Lee's army, as well, suffered at times from in- 
sufficiency of food on account of the theoretic ge- 
nius of a "pepper-doctor." 

During the Winter of 1865, the question of the 
South's ultimate success, or probable defeat, was 
discussed by the prisoners at Johnson's Island, both 
publicly and privately. The newpapers kept us 
posted as to military movements, and we had bet- 
ter opportunity to Judge the situation correctly than- 
officers in the field. 

336 



CHAMBERSBURG 

Notwithstanding the success of Northern arms, we 
noticed on the part of the North, a clamor for peace. 
A demand that bloodshedding- be stopped on some 
terms. They dreaded a long guerilla war. We had 
in prison many "last ditch" men, but the concensus 
of opinion was that the Confederate Government 
should avail itself of the first opportunity to make 
th':' best terms possible. 

In January, 1865, we noticed that the Hon. Fran- 
cis P. Blair had gone through the lines to Richmond, 
but the newspapers were only wondering as to the 
cause of his visit. He had been an important fac- 
tor in effecting the nomination of Lincoln, and was 
known as one of Mr. Lincoln's most trusted advis- 
ers. During this last year of the struggle Francis 
P. Blair believed that by intermediation, peace could 
be secured.' It was thought that he reflected Mr. 
Lincoln's views and wishes in the matter. He went 
to Richmond, and had a protracted conference with 
Mr. Davis and others (whom he knew well person- 
ally, having been for many years editor and pro- 
prietor of the National Intelliqencer, Washington, 
p. C.) It was this movement that led to the Hamp- 
ton Roads peace conference, ofT City Point, 3rd Feb- 
ruary, 1865. 

Blair was chosen by Mr. Lincoln, after the fall of 
Fort Sumpter to offer the command of the U. S. 
Army to Col. Robt. E. Lee. Virginia had virtually 
voted against secession. 

Lee declined, saying, "I am opposed to secession, 
but I cannot draw my sword upon Virginia, my 
native state." 

Francis P. Blair was the father of Major-General 
Frank P. Blair, and the Hon. Montgomery Blair, 
who was one of Lincoln's cabinet. A large number 
of the Northern people, and of the South, were 
clamoring for peace, on some terms; demanding 
that the slaughter cease. So Mr. Blair was well re- 
ceived at Richmond. He was assured by Mr. Davis 
that he would be pleased to appoint a commission 

337 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

to meet a similar one appointed by Mr. Lincoln, at 
such a time, and place, as might be agreed upon, to 
discuss terms of peace. Mr. Lincoln, who ardently- 
desired peace, and in obedience to this humane sen- 
timent of many of his people, agreed to meet Alex. 
H. Stevens, Vice President; Hon. R. M. T. Hunter of 
Virginia and Judge Jno. A. Campbell, Asst. Secre- 
tary War, aboard of ship, in the Hampton Roads: 
to discuss the question. 

This Interview, known in history as The Hamp- 
ton Roads Conference, is said to have been first sug- 
gested to Francis P. Blair by his son, Major-General 
F. P. Blair, then representing Missouri in the U. S. 
Senate. 

Long after it was over, the Conference was mi- 
nutely described by Mr. Stephens to certain Atlanta 
friends. An incident of his reception by Mr. Lin- 
coln was characteristic of the latter. The day was 
cold, and Mr. Stephens had added to his overcoat 
a very long woolen muffler, which was wound 
round and round his throat. Mr. Lincoln was in 
the very best of spirits, and as he proceeded to pull 
Mr. Stephens out of the muffler, remarked with 
much good humor: "Gentlemen, if we can once get 
this shuck off, the nubbin is inside of it!" 

Mr. Stephens' testimony is that after a pleasant 
social time in the cabin, and a talk about good old 
ante-bellum days in Washington, Mr. Lincoln in- 
formally expressed his views and intentions, as be- 
ing in favor of emancipation in some form, and 
the re-admission of the Southern States into the 
Union, upon the Confederacy's ratification of an 
agreement to Union and Peace. He furthermore 
said in regard to the "Confiscation Acts" which had 
been passed by Congress, that he would use the 
power of the executive with the utmost liberality. 
If the war should cease at once, he would favor the 
payment of a fair indemnity for their property 
(slaves) to the slave-holders. 

338 



CHAMBERSBURG 

He then said: "Well, Gentlemen, it's time we- 
should formulate our ideas in writing." Turning 
to Mr. Stephens he remarked: "Alex, you are the 
best scribe, you do the writing." 

Whereupon, Mr. Stephens relates, "I seated my- 
splf at the table and asked: "What shall I write?" 

Said Mr. Lincoln: "Write 'Union' at the top of 
the pagp, and then, practically speaking, you may 
write what vou will under it." 

Mr. Stephens replied: "Mr. Lincoln, we are in- 
structed not to agree to a Union under any circum- 
stances." 

Mr. Lincoln repUed: "Then the conference is 
at an end." 

Mr. Steph'^ns' pastor, the Rev. Dr. Greene. Rich- 
mond. Va., says: "Mr. Stephens told me this." The 
statement is in substance verified by the Hon. Henry 
Watterson, who says he arot it from Mr. Stephens. 
I mvsplf heard Captain Evan Howell say that Mr. 
Stenhens told him the facts. I was in Atlanta when 
the" conversation between Mr. Stephens and Evan 
HowpII occurred. Each of these friends of Mr. Ste- 
phens testify to the facts as learned from Mr. Ste- 
phens. Yet' there has been some controversy over 
the matter on the part of those who think they 
should defend Mr. Davis in all things — right or 
wrong. It has been asserted that a joint resolution 
appropriating a large sum of money to be paid the 
South for slaves, was to be presented to the United 
States Congress. This instrument, in Mr. Lincoln's 
own handwriting, is still in the Archives at Wash- 
ington. Prof. A. B. Hart, LL. D., Professor History 
Harvard University, says, in "American Nation :" 
"It was submitted by Mr. Lincoln to his Cabinet." 

As to Lincolns terms — expressed at the Hampton 
Roads Conference General Grant in his Memoirs, 
Vol 2nd, page 422, says : "It was not a great while 
after they met, that the President visited me at City 
Point. He spoke of having met the Commissioners, 
and said he had told them: That the Union as a 

339 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

whole, must be forever preserved, and secondly. 
That slavery on some terms must be abolished. If 
they were willing to concede these two points, then 
he was ready to enter into negotiations: and was 
willing to hand them a blank sheet of paper with 
signature attached, for them to fill in the other 
terms upon which they were willing to live with 
us in the Union and be one people." 

Opportunity had visited our desperate Cause as 
th*^ angels visited the apostles in prison. The hour 
h.nd come and srone! The full significance of that 
lost hour is immeasurable. 

It was charged with finality! 

At this time Sherman had made his march to the 
Sea, through Georgia. Grant had the Confederacy 
"by the throat" at Petersburg. Hood had failed in 
his raid into Tennessee. Lee had said, "I must have 
more men," and there were none for him. In utter 
desperation negro troops had been called out. Lin- 
coln wfis a type of the Roundhead, Davis of the 
Cavalier. As Cromwell was a wiser man than 
Charles the 1st. so Lincoln was a greater leader than 
Davis, in a Revolutionary crisis. 

In these reminiscences, I have criticized Mr. Davis 
freely, and also Mr. Lincoln that the truth of his- 
tory may be preserved: "History being the collected 
result of individual experiences." It is the habit 
of certain Confederate veterans to give JefTerson 
Davis unstinted praise, actuated by the remem- 
brance of his vicarious sutTerings for his people; 
and there are others who at this late day, are fight- 
ing over the battles of the Confederacy, who know 
from personal experience, little about the actuali- 
ties of Civil War. 

I credit President Davis, and his advisers at Rich- 
mond, with the utmost zeal, and much intelligence; 
but none of them with great practical, construc- 
tive statesmanship. The Confederate Congress was 
a V. eak and undistinguished legislature. "They 

340 



CHAMBERSBURG 

confirm onr fpfline, that the armies of the Sonth 
■vvppp finer than the GoX^errimient thi^y defended." 

Mr. Alex' IT. Stephens ih' his Constitutional view 
of 'the ^"war' betweeri the stales" mentions the 
^'hampton Roads Conference," but gives no details, 
excfept the dispatches and letters that brought it 
aboitf. and hi's reasons for wanting to make an ef- 
foH for' ppace. He had antagonized Mr. Davis poli- 
cies and it seems h(^"did riot wish to thresh over 
their differpnces in 'print, as they were 'personal 
friends, and Davis was in trouble. In describing 
his efforts, he saVs!, ''The rbsiTlt Of war generally de- 
bends quite' as hiuch u^ori diplomacy as upon arms, 
upon the proper use' of the pen, as the sword. There 
is a tinie for each. '" •. ■ . . 

''I thciughf th^ time had now come in view of the 
situation politically' at the North, militarily at the 
South, to essay something in this department (di- 
plomacy). In this view Mr. Davis did not concur." 
It seems that President Lincoln first sent Mr. Sew- 
ard, hite Secretary'' of State, with written instructions, 
to meet Stephens, Hunter and Campbell; that when 
the'se Colifederafe Coinmissrdners read Mr. Seward's 
instructions, they detei^niined to return to Rich- 
mond. In the 'meantinie, however, they conversed 
freely with Lt. General U. S. Grant at "City Point;" 
who learning their desire for peace, and of their de- 
termination to return to Richmond without result, 
dispatched Edwin M. StAhton, Secretary of War, 
that the' Corifedet-'ate' Commissioners wished to meet 
Mr. Lincoln in person, that it would have a bad ef- 
f(^ct if the conference was not held. This brought 
the following dispa'tch : '"■'*" 

'-'■■- "yVar Dept. Washington. 

"Feb: 8nd, 1865. 
"Lt. Genl. U. S. Grant, 
' "City Poiiit, Va; ' 

"Say to the gentlemen, that I will meet them per- 
sonallv at Fortress Monroe, as soon as I can get 
^here." A. LINCOLN. " 

23 ^1 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Apropos of this conference, Mr. Stephens men- 
tions, that he served in the House of Representatives 
with Mr. Lincoln; that they were personal and po- 
litical friends. Members of the old Whig-Party. 
That he heard Lincoln in 1848 make a speech, jus- 
tifying the right of secession, resisting the Govern- 
ment and setting up another Government when cir- 
cumstances justified. Mr. Lincoln's friend and ad- 
viser (Greeley) advocated the right of secession in 
the N. Y. Tribune 1860-6L 

At that time it was well known that Horace Gree- 
ley was the "power behind the throne greater than 
the throne itself." In the "American Conflict" is an 
article that was taken from the New York Tri?'une 
9th May, 1860, admitting the right of a State to se- 
cede. But later their policy was changed. It was 
as Alex H. Stephens says: "They raised the cry of 
Union and coercion to abolish the constitution." 
Mr. Stephens also gives a fac-simile copy of a let- 
ter he received from Mr. Lincoln after his election, 
asking for a copy of a strong Union speech he (Mr. 
Stephens) had just made before the Georgia Legis- 
lature. The letter was dated 

"Springfield, 111., Dec. 22nd, 1860. 
"Hon. A. H. Stephens, 
My Dear Sir : — 

"Your obliging answer to my short note is jus* 
received, for which please accept my thanks. I 
fully appreciate the present peril the country is in, 
and the weight of responsibility on me. D o the peo- 
ple of the South really entertain fears that a Re- 
publican administration would directly or indi- 
rectly interfere with the slaves, or bother them 
about the slaves? If they do, I wish to assure you 
as once a friend, and still I hope, not an enemy, that 
there is no cause for such fears. The South would 
be in no more danger in this respect, than it was 
in the days of Washington. I suppose however 
this does not meet the case. You think slavery is 
right, and ought to be extended, while we think it 

342 



CHAMBERSBURG 

is wrong, and ought to be restricted. That I sup- 
pose is the rub. It certainly is the only substan- 
tial difference between us. 

"Yours Very Truly, 

"A. LINCOLN." 

Of this conference, in answer to a resolution of 
Congress, Mr. Lincoln made the following report: 
"Executive Dept. Washington. 
"Seby. 10th, 1865. 

"On the morning of the 3rd inst. the gentlemen, 
Messrs. Stephens, Hunter and Campbell, came 
aboard of our steamer, and had an interview with 
the Secretary of State and myself of several hours' 
duration. No questions of preliminaries to the 
meeting was then and there made or mentioned. No 
other person was present. No papers were ex- 
changed or produced, and it was in advance agreed 
that the conversation was to be informal and verbal 
merely. On my part the whole substance of the 
instnictions to ' the Secretary of State was stated 
and insisted upon, and nothing was said inconsis- 
tent therewith, while by the other party, it was not 
said, that in any event, or on any condition they 
ever would consent to reunion; and yet they equally 
omitted to declare that they never would so consent. 
They seemed to desire a postponement of that ques- 
tion, and the adoption of some other course first, 
which, as some of them seemed to argue, might or 
might not lead to reunion, but which course we 
thought would amount to indefmite postponement. 
The conference ended without result. The forego- 
ing, containing, as is believed, all the information 
sought, is respectfully submitted. 

(Signed) "ABRAHAM LINCOLN." 

The Johnson Island prisoners read of the failure 
of this conference with sore hearts. The struggle 
was wasting the lives and property of the South 
uselessly. The Confederacy had pased the period 
when success was any longer possible. We could 
only wait for the fmal crash. 

343 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

There was some very gallant fighting around Pe- 
tprebnre-h. Reams' S't&tion, and Five Forks (where 
the" gfillant. able General A. P. Hill was killed) . And 
Battery Gregg, where assault after assault was 're- 
pxilsed — two hundred d^g&inst five thousand. Fort 
Gregg fell" but ifew of its brave defenders survived. 
Those two himdred had placed hors du combat 
eight hundred' of Gibbons' Corps. General Gibons 
so in forrrie'd' General Wilcox after the surrender at 
Appom.attoTi, 

All of' this and conflicts on other fields, shed more 
glory on Confederate valor; but it was the dying 
effort of an overpo^'bred'ahd discouraged peopled 

'ATLANTA. 

To return to the occupation of Atlanta. On ac- 
count of the extension of Sherman's right wing'to 
the Macon and Atlanta Railroad (Central of Ga.) 
Hood was compelled 16 evacuate Atlanta, and it was 
occupied by the enemy. Soon afterwards the move- 
ments of Sherrnah's forces compelled Hood (as he 
thoughtl to attack hirh'in a' fortified line at Jones- 
boro. 'The assault Was repulsed. ' Severable valua- 
ble lives 'ivere lost in my Regiment: among them 
was my friend Lt. Willie Ross bf Macon: a noble 
^'•oung fellow. ' i> .., ■ ^ 

After his failure at Jonesboro, Hood retired to 
Palmi^fto'oh fhe Atlanta and West Point Railroad. 
Here President Davis yisited the army of Tennessee, 
and made* a speech. ' 

As usUalhe wafe full of "grand plans" that would 
relieve the situation.' Speaking to Cheatham's Di- 
vision, hb sdid, "Be of good cheer, for in a short 
while your faces 'will be tui'ned homeward, and 
your feet pressing Tennessee soil." He was exces- 
sively fanciful in' rnilitary mattel's, aild to the last 
he continued to believe he was a master of the art 
of war. "If e thought to 'illustrate genius, while he 
was 6nly pi^ovihg th6 affectktion of it, in fondness 
for novelties; in moving out Of the beateii track of 

344 



CHAMBERSBURG 

campaigns; and in surprising the public by sudden 
and violent eccentricities." 

It may be said of Mr. Davis' Palmetto speech, 
"His mind was in a state of indecent exposure," he 
so freely gave away his plans to the enemy. 

Sherman says in his Memoirs, "Jeff Davis' speech 
to ilood's army at Palmetto, Georgia, published in 
the Macon Newspaper, gave me in detail, Hood's 
movement into Tennessee, and caused me to send 
troops back from Atlanta to meet him." He also says, 
"Davis got off some more spleen against General 
Johnston, and was very bitter towards Gov. Brovi^n." 
This was caused by Brown's recent letter to Hood, 
withdrawing the Georgia militia at such a critical 
time, under the plea that their term of enlistment 
was out, and that "they were needed at home to 
gather corn and sorghum." This act struck Sher- 
man's military funny-bone. He intimates that this 
step of Brown's and the full information furnished 
him by Mr. Davis, decided him to make the contem- 
plated march through Georgia to the sea, and that 
he commenced to get ready. The Georgia militia 
division under that very efficient officer, Maj. Gen- 
eral Gustavus W. Smith, could have hovered on 
Sherman's flanks. If this militia could not have 
stopped Sherman they could at least have limited 
the area of devastation, by his "bummer corps". It 
seems that after the fall of Atlanta, Gov. Brown's 
patriotism commenced to weaken. Sherman men- 
tions that he made a proposal to Brown through 
Judge ,A. R. Wright of Rome, Hon. Joshua Hill '^of 
Madison, and Mr. King of Marietta, "for all 
Georgians to cease fighting, and then he would 
let up," and say^ "I have no doutb but that Gov. 
Brown at the time seriously entertained the propo- 
sition." And the withdrawal of the Georgia militia 
may have been a start in that direction. 

Our secession Governor did not then feel as pug- 
nacious as when he captured Fort Pulaski and the 
Augusta Arsenal in December, 1860, before his state 

345 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

seceded. He no doubt thought he had better com- 
mence to hedge. However, he could not "deliver the 
goods." So nothing came of the correspondence. 
It only served as an opportunity for Sherman to be 
facetious at Brown's expense. 

In a dispatch to Lincoln about Governor Brow^n's 
negotiations, and why he withdrew his militia, he 
mentions "corn and sorghum," Lincoln's answer 
is as follows : 

"Washington, D. C, September 17th, 1864. 
"Maj. General Sherman, 
"Atlanta, Ga. 

"I feel a great interest in the subjects of your dis- 
patch, especially mentioning 'corn and sorghum,' 
and contemplate a visit to you. 

(Signed) : "A. LINCOLN." 

All information having been furnished by the 
President of the Confederacy, and troops enough 
having been withdrawn, discharged and sent home 
by the Governor of Georgia to insure a safe pas- 
sage, Sherman telegraphed to General Amos Beck- 
with, "I propose to sally forth to ruin Georgia, and 
bring up on the sea shore." He got ofT from At- 
lanta on his march to the sea, November 15th, '64, 
with sixty-five thousand (65,000) men. He made 
fun of Governor Brown's flight from Milledgeville, 
"leaving the sick and wounded in hospitals, and 
loading his cars with furniture from the executive 
mansion, and cabbages from the garden!" 

He facetiously mentions in one of his dispatches 
to Halleck, from Savannah, "We fared sumptuous- 
ly; we found plenty of "corn in the cribs, and sor- 
ghum in the barrels,' seemingly gathered and stored 
for our use by Joe Brown's Militia." 

Sherman's special order No. 120 in regard to the 
march through Georgia, says: "If the inhabitants 
manifest local hostility, then army commanders 
should order and enforce a devastation more or less 
relentless," or, in other w^ords, "go ahead, and do 
your worst!" Which they did! Since the war, 

346 



CHAMBERSBURG 

finding that his inhuman course and violation of 
the laws of war was condemned by the civilized 
world, and not palliated by all Unionists, or even 
by many original abolitionists, he has attempted in 
his Memoirs, to excuse himself. He mentions sev- 
eral instances of his individual kindnesses to ante- 
bellum lady friends, and says, "I mention them to 
show that, personally, I had no malice." 

He at first denied burning Columbia; but since 
then, in his Memoirs,, he says, "In my ofiicial re- 
port of this conflagration, I distinctly charged it to 
General Wade Hampton. I did it pointedly, to 
shake the faith of his people in him." A dispatch 
to Halleck from Savannah, December 24th, '64, 
shows his intention; he says, "I look upon Colum- 
bia as quite as bad as Charleston. I doubt if we 
shall spare the buildings there, as we did at Mil- 
ledgeville." 

Whitelaw Reid pronounces the burning of Colum- 
bia "the most monstrous barbarity of the barbarous 
march." (See Reid's "Ohio in the War," Vol. 1st, 
Page 475). 



XXVIII. 

THE PENNSYLVANIA CAMPAIGN. 

The Confederacy's fortunes were at high-tide 
when Lee's army entered Penn. 

The results of that campaign was the recurrent 
subject of discussion among the Johnson Island 
prisoners. Six of my seven room-mates had been 
wounded at Gettysburg. They were all educated 
officers, connected with the different arms of the 
service, and all well qualified to form correct opin- 
ions of Lee's strategy, and the movements that 

347 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

^Drought on the great battle. My opinions were de- 
rived, first and foremost, from these mouthpieces 
of experience. Each man gave his personal testi- 
liiony; his own description of the situation and 
events. 

General Lee's objective was the capture of Har- 
risburg. The Susquehanna river was to be his line 
of defense. On June 28th EwtH's Corps had reached 
GarUsle, only twenty miles from Harrisburg, when 
ordered to march upon the city and capture it. The 
river was fordable above and below Harrisburg. No 
reliable troops were stationed there. The U. S. Gov't 
Reports (Penn. Campaign). Gen. Crouch com- 
manding Dep't of the Susquehanna writes to Secty. 
Stanton June 29th. (See p. 407) "My whole force in 
Dept' is 16,000 men. Only 9,000 of them here (Har- 
risburg). Five thousand veterans can whip them 
all to pieces in an open field. I am afraid the enemy 
will ford the river in its present state," 

Lorenzo Thomas, Adj. General, wrote July 1st: 
"We need artillery and practical artillerists. The 
people understand that the fate of Harrisburg de- 
pends entirely upon the Army of the Potomac." 

Simon Cameron, writing to President Lincoln 
from Harrisburg, June 29th, says : "If Lee gets his 
army across the Susquehanna, and puts our army 
on the defensive on that, line, you can readily com- 
prehend the disastrous results that must follow to 
the country.". . ,, ,• , , , 

We also find a dispatch from Secty. War Stanton, 
to Gen'l Dana in command at Philadelphia, dated 
June 29th (p. 408) : "It is very important that no 
machinery for maldng arma should fall intp hands 
of the enemy. You are authorized and directed to 
impress steam tugs, barges, and any description of 
vessel, to remove all gun manufacturing machi- 
nery,; especially that of Alfred Jelks & Son." 

.These extracts indicate; some of the possibilities 
open to Lee, ^s apprehended by the highest officials 
of the United States Government. The presumption 

348 



PENNSYLVANIA CAMPAIGN 

is that General. Lee was fully aware of the condi- 
tions; especially of the unreliable Harrisburg mil- 
itia, as Early's cavalry on its way to York had come 
upon a full regiment of them at Gettysburg, but \he 
regiment dispersed so rapidly that Jenkins's cav- 
alry could hardly get a sight of 'em. 

there was no defense of York, Carlisle or Cham- 
bersburg. At Wrightville, 1,200 militia retreated 
ond gave up the town before Gordon could get his 
brigade into line. In fact, it was found that in 
Penn. and New Jersey a state of public sentiment 
e.xisted verging on revolt. A further evidence of 
this truth was the resistance to the draft in New 
York city, a few months later. 

To suppress this resistance, required the presence 
of 42 regiments of veterans — and this in spite of 
Lee's failure in Pennsylvania, and the fall of Vicks- 
burg. 

It appears, therefore, that the way was clear for 
further oiYensive operations as contemplated by 
Lee. The plan involved the practical abandonment 
of his communications with Virginia, so far as sub- 
sistence for his army was concerned; but the region 
into which he planned to move was rich in forage 
and food. 

A general adyance on Harrisburg was ordered Jiuie 
28th. General. Stewart was still away on a raid, 
>YjLth Ijiis cavalry. Lee could get no information of 
the movements: of the enemy. At this juncture 
scouts reported that Hooker had crossed the Potomac 
and was rapidly moving up in Lee's rear. On the 
29th all plans were, changed and orders counter- 
manded. The army was concentrated at Gettysburg. 
Wha,t Lee w^uld have done had he been fully in- 
formed, by, his cavalry, is a matter of speculation. 
He said that the move on Gettysburg, to meet the 
Aripy of the Potomac, was to protect his communi- 
cations., It was based upon the confident belief on 
the part of the commanding General that the fight- 
ing strength of his 65,000 veterans was greater than 

349 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Hooker's army. Not in numbers, but morale. His 
reliance in his troops was not misplaced. This was 
demonstrated by the first day's fighting, on a fair 
field. But Ewell, enfeebled by the loss of his leg 
at Manassas, failed to seize the strong positions of 
Round Top, and Cemetery Hill, lying open before 
him. That night Hancock came up, occupied and 
fortified the priceless strongholds. 

Even after the second day's fight the prestige re- 
mained with the Confederates. For they had pene- 
trated Mead's fortified line on Cemetery Hill, and 
captured much artillery and many prisoners. 

Two of my prison-roommates, Captains Dennis 
Saunders and Columbus Heard, of the 3d Ga. Infan- 
try, were wounded in the charge of Wright's Geor- 
gia Brigade up Cemetery Hill. Both men declared 
that had support come up, Wright's Georgians and 
Hays' Louisiana Brigade, could have fortified and 
held the position. But, upsupported, they were 
compelled to retire to their original line. 

And still was Lee invincible! — on a fair field. 

The Third Day's fatal charge might have been 
avoided. 

The plan of invasion could have been pursued on 
other lines : by fortifying, and living on the coun- 
try: by threatening Philadelphia and Baltimore. 
Northern opinion would have forced Meade to "at- 
tack and drive the rebels out." The Federal army 
would have been destroyed, and Lee would have 
dictated his terms in Washington. 

Old Stonewall once said: "We sometimes fail to 
drive the enemy from a position : They always fail 
to drive us!" 

Napoleon said to Marmont, when putting him at 
the head of an invading army: "Select your 
ground; and make the enemy attack you." 

Longstreet advised and insisted that the Pennsyl- 
vania Campaign should be one of "offensive strat- 
egy, but defensive tactics." This was agreed to. 

350 



PENNSYLVANIA CAMPAIGN 

But General Lee departed from tliese vital military 
principles — and lost! 

It was the death-knell of the Confederacy. 

Another bleeding witness to certain tremendous 
truths concerning this campaign, was Major Henry 
D. McDaniel, one of my prison roommates, who was 
severely wounded in an engagement of his regi- 
ment, the 11th Ga. Infantry, while protecting Lee's 
retreat to the Potomac. He said: "The enemy's 
pursuit was feeble and easily checked. We lost 
none of our equipment worthy of mention. Lee 
crossed the swollen river safely, hut his army should 
have been advancing, not in retreat. Then and 
there, was the moment for Napoleonic tactics. Then 
and there, we realized how irretrievable was our loss 
in the death of Stonewall Jackson!" 

(Yea, verily! Think of Jackson falling back with 
a superior army! — surrounded by the lawful spoils 
of war — the fields and orchards of the invaded coun- 
try. While Lee was protecting the Pennsylvania 
Dutchmen's apples, Jackson would have taken Phil- 
adelphia by the throat.) 

The gallantry of the Confederate surgeons in the 
field, may be illustrated by a single instance from 
the unnumbered instances of exalfed courage which 
lightened upon the battle of Gettysburg. 

At a meeting of the survivors of the 2nd Ga. Bat- 
talion (Infantry) held during the late Confederate 
reunion at Macon, Ga., Dr. James Robie Woods of 
New York — elsewhere mentioned — in his thrilling 
•address gave the following account of his terrific 
experience at Gettysburg: 

Said he: "Keeping close to the. line of battle and 
looking out for the wounded as soon as they fell, 
occupied my time as I went into action at Gettys- 
burg, with Wright's Georgia Brigade. 

Hancock's shells poured into us as we ascended 
the hill, and Pat Gronin, who was in front of me, 
had his head taken off by a shell. It struck me in 
the left breast, and for a minute I thought I was 

351 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

killed. Tlp^e s^ell parted around me, but its smoke 
so obscured me that many thought I was killed. 
Immediately after this, as I went up the hill, I was 
shot through both shoulders — ^after we had driven 
in the Northern line; "pierced their center," as Gen. 
JDoubleday said; and had Wright been supported, 
the battle would have been ours. 
. Just inside the Yankee line, cannister shot poured 
ifito us— four or, five went through Jake Rosenfelt 
at. my side, and one entered my left knee, laming me 
seriously for years. This cannister shot remained 
in my leg for thirty-two years. I lay on the battle- 
field all the next day-— and as our own shells came 
crashing about me I was in constant dread of being 
killed by , ouri own ,men, 

, Turnipseea,,,of the Spaulding Greys (2d Qa. Batt.) 
was severely wqunded; he lay near me. I said to 
him: "This is a pretty hot place." He smiled an 
answer, and at that moment the dreadful thug of 
a bullet in his head laid him dead beside me. 

Gen. i\\'ebb of New York, had Carlos and myself 
taken frorn the field. I was first tak^n to Baltimore, 
and thence to Chester, Pa., where we were treated 
with the greatest kindness and care. Pierce Butler 
was ir^ constant attendaace on us, yet it was not 
necessary, as the surgeons in charge were noble in 
their, devotion to our wounded.. , 

I was given the books of the main ward as soon 
^s I. could sit up in bed, and I was allowed to keep 
ari account of the condition of each soldier. After 
fL few iponths we \yere exchanged and I went im- 
niediately to the front to take care of; the wounded, 
as the condition of my knee unfitted me for 
marches." , , . . . , 

:, Could: valor exceed the dauntless courage of this 
Southern surgeon? - .i \ 

Dr. Wood's mention of the gallantry pf Jake Ro- 
senfelt, who was , shot down inside the enemy's 
works, is a testimony to one of the best elements in 
our army — the Southern Jew. Those of Georgia 

352 



PENNSYLVANIA CAMPAIGN 

volnnteered freely and made excellent soldiers. T 
know many of them. Among the nimiber was 
MRJiir II: J? Moses, of Columbus — an accomplished 
f^hitl'^man ancj' one of the bravest of thf brave; 
Captain Yate^ Levy of Savannah: E. Isaacs, and 
Rosenfeltdf Macoii; all men of distinguished gal- 
Jantryl In \he Civil Government was Senator 
mee of Florida. But perhaps the greatest man at 
the Confederate Capital was Judah P. Benjamin, 
Sec't'v of State. "A Jew, yet in solemn compact 
with thp Genjiles. A Jew. yet saying: "Your peo- 
ple shall be my people; where you go, I will fol- 
low. ' ■#hat you suffer, T wilL endure." A Jew. 
yet grasping all the difficult problems of Govern- 
ment wit|i a master mind, A Jew, yet always 
astute when he planned, always wise when he 
counseled, and always sane when he judged. He 
stood upon' the very summit of greatness and 
CciugbJ the rays of the morning and flung them 
down upon th^e valley beneath him!" 

Upon every hard-fought battle-field of the Civil 
War there were Jews in our ranks who sealed their 
devotion to the South with their blood — well termed 
by Du Maurier "the precious Oriental blood." 



XXIX. 

SURRENDER. 

General Robt. E. Lee had surrendered to General 
U. S. Grant, on the '^th April; In regard to that, 
President Lincoln's iristi*uctions to Grant were, 
*'Give' Lee anythirig hewants^'if he will only stop 
fighting." Soon afterwards, Mr. Lincoln instructed 
Sherman to' hiake very liberal terms with John- 
ston, 16 get hinl to" include 'the Trans-Mississippi 
Armies of Kirby Smith, pick Taylor, in Alabama, 
Price and ofhers ahd'N. B. F'orrest's Corps, "and to 

353 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

agree to keep down guerilla warfare, if possible." 
Sherman says he was instructed by Mr. Lincoln, 
and others in high authority, to secure the surren- 
der of Johnston's army, and a cessation of hostili- 
ties in all Departments of the Confederacy, and to 
grant the most liberal terms. Therefore in the first 
agreement it was provided in part, Sec. 4th, "That 
the people and inhabitants of all the States be guar- 
anteed their political rights, and franchises, as de- 
fined by the United States Constitution and the 
states respectively." As the contention was, the 
Southern States had not been out of the Union, only 
in rebellion against the laws. 

This clause was disagreed to by Mr. Stanton, Sec- 
retary of War; and Sherman was ordered to draw 
up another agreement of surrender. In the mean- 
time President Lincoln was assassinated and the 
people of the North were thrown into a state of 
frenzy. 

There was a sense of relief expressed when we 
learned that the assassin had no connection with 
the South, but was an actor whose brain was turned 
by tragedies. 

Edwin M. Stanton was an aspirant for the Presi- 
dency. He immediately gave the Sherman-John- 
ston agreement for surrender, to the press, with 
nine reasons why they should not be accepted — • 
which Sherman says were misrepresentations. 

Stanton ordered Gen. Grant to go to Raleigh and 
take command of Sherman's army. 

Major Johnson, of Grant's staff , says: "Thft 
General (Grant) did not want to go, and felt hurt 
in having to obey the order." 

General Grant went to New Berne, and from there 
telegraphed Sherman his instructions. Thence he 
went to Raleigh, and held an interview with Sher- 
man. It terminated in Sherman being left in com- 
mand. As a result, Sherman notified General Joe 
Johnston that the "truce" would end in forty-eight 
hours. 

354 



SURRENDER 

As to Sherman's terms to Johnston, Grant says: 
(Memoirs, Vol. 2nd, page 515) "General Sherman 
knew what Mr. Lincoln had said to the Peace Com- 
missioners: that if they would agree that slavery 
be abolished, and the Union be preserved, he was 
willing for them to write the other terms, et. cet, 
Sherman thought, no doubt, in adding to the terms 
I had made with General Lee, that he was but car- 
rying out the wishes of the President." 

Johnson requested another conference, which 
was held April 25th, when the terms of surrender 
accorded to Lee, were agreed upon; and the sur- 
render of Johnston's army took place at Greens- 
boro, North Carolina, the next day. General John- 
ston had about thirty thousand old, seasoned vet- 
erans ; and Lee about as many who looked upon th.3 
army as their home, and fighting their only busi- 
ness. 

One hundred and eighty thousand well armed 
veterans were paroled in all the departments. They 
could have continued the struggle a long time by 
adopting guerilla tactics. 

Of course they would have had to subsist upon 
the country, and it was not expected that they would 
confine their operations to the South. I knew and 
talked to many who wanted to continue the war 
on that line. 

Lincoln knew of it, and was for allaying this nat- 
ural feeling of desperate men when he instructed 
Sherman to grant Johnston liberal terms of sur- 
render. Generals Lee and Johnston did not want 
to afflict the country with irregular warfare. 

Afterwards, when Sherman's army reached 
Washington and passed in review before Presid^^nt 
Johnston and his Cabinet, and General Grant, Sher- 
man refused to take Stanton's proffered hand, as he 
ascended the Reviewing-stand. His hostility to 
Stanton was caused by Stanton's reversing the 
Sherman-Johnston terms of surrender; and pub- 
lishing the same with such comments as would 

355 



FOUR YEARS QN T{^E FIRING LINE 

make political capital for himself. This was to set 
public opinion against Shprman: as Sherman knew. 

Stanton's reversal of Sherman's first agreement 
with Johnston, his sending Grant to take charge 
of Shermari's army, and to conduct negotiations 
\Vith Johnston, implied that Sherman was not to 
be trusted. 

These facts make it evident that Stanton's doings 
at this jmicture render him directly responsible for 
the Reconstruction Acts : and their attendant evils. 
The Acts were afterward engineered through Con- 
gress by that arch-fiend, Thad. Stevens, and his sat- 
ellites. 

Stanton's radical position at this time was feasi- 
ble as a result of Lincoln's assassination. Stanton 
believed he had seized the psychological moment for 
riding into the Presidehcy. 

Lincoln, his ambition sated, had shown a con- 
ciliatory spirit toward a people in dire extremity. 
The necromancy of events transformed this man's 
death into a calamitous thing for the South! 

After Andrew Johnson's inauguration, the ma- 
jority of the Republican Party, and their organs, 
showed that he was looked upon with suspicion. 
He was openly charged with being accessory to 
Lincoln's death. To disarm the suspicion directed 
against himself, Johnson proceeded "to make trea- 
son odious" in a manner that would be "convinc- 
ing." He ordered the arrest of Jefferson Davis. His 
proclamation releasing Prisoners of War who had 
taken the Amnestv Oath, excepted from its provis- 
ions all Field Officers of the rank of General, Colonel 
and Major, who were at that time prisoners of war. 
Confederate officers of high rank who had surren- 
dered in the field, could not be reached. Captains, 
Lieutenants and private soldiers imprisoned, were 
released about the 1st of May. 

As to the Southern States, and their status in the 
Union: Mr. Johnson's policy toward those States 
which had embraced secession, was actually the 

356 



SURRENDER 

policy pt'dject'^d by Linijoln. StaritOn pfoinptly be- 
gan a vicioits Attack oh President Johnson atid his 
"policies" Which terminated in Stanton's removal, 
&nd the appointthent of Major General Jno. M. 
Schofield, acting Secretary War. Schofield had 
been in the army forty years. He was one of Sher- 
man's ablest Corps commander's, and next to him 
in rank. His opinions on the military situation at 
this time are interesting. He says: "Sherman's 
grand strategic plan to assist in the capture of Lee's 
army did lint tiecefesitate or justify his action in 
marching to Savahnah. After Hood got out of his 
way, Sherinan, I think, could better have marched 
to Aligiista and thus afi^ived in Virginia much 
earlier; hut orle part of Sherman's earnest desires 
would haVe been uhrealized, harnely to destroy 
toore of Georgia and mor6 of South Carolina. 

The capitulation of Johnstoh w'as but the natural 
sequence of Lee*s surrender: for Johnston's aritiy 
was hot surrounded and could not have been com- 
pelled to surrender. Indeed, Sherman could hot 
have prevented that arhiy from marching back into 
the Gulf States and contihUihg the war. 

Sherman at the time saw clearly enough this 
vip\v of the case : ahd Was determined to have a part 
in the surrender. Therefoi^e he gave Lincoln's in- 
structiohs a liberal interpretation, and Wheh the 
terms agi^eed upOh Were rejected, h6 and Johnston 
at theit" last rneeting seemed disappoihted and de- 
jected. To understand this, it must be remehibered 
that Johnston's army was not stirrounded and its 
•su^rehder coidd not have been compelled. Unless 
the terms of capitulation could be made such as 
the troops themselves would be willing to accept; 
they would, it was apprehended, break up into 
guerilla bands of greater or less strength, and carry 
on the war ih that Way, indefinitely. 

So strongly Was I ihipressed at the tihle with 
General Johnston's apprehensions, that I Was often 
thereafter haunted in my di'eams with the difTicUl- 

24 iti 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

ties I was acutally encountering in the prosecution 
of military operations against those remnants of 
the Confederate armies; in marshes and mountain- 
ous countries, thro' summer heats, and winter 
storms. 

It was several years after the war before I be- 
came fully satisfied, at night, that it was really 
over ! 

At the time of Sherman's first interview with 
Johnston, he left me in command of the army. At 
his last interview, I accompanied him at his special 
request." As to the "terms" allowing Johnston's 
men to retain their arms, to be turned over when 
they reached home, which caused such a howl, 
General Schofield says: "There seems to be even 
in high places some men who have no conception 
of the sense of honor which exists among hravs 
men. It may not be possible to judge how wise or 
unwise Sherman's first 'memorandum' might have 
proved if it had been ratified. We know only this 
much, that the imagination of man could hardly 
picture worse results than those wrought out by 
the plan that was finally adopted, namely, to de- 
stroy everything that existed in the way of Govern- 
ment, and then build from the bottom on the foun- 
dation of ignorance and rascality." 
A northern writer in the "Annals of the War" says : 

The inevitable horrors of war are bad enough ia 
any case, but they are vastly increased when the 
passions begotten of civil strife become dominant. 
"The people of this entire country should bow their 
heads in humiliation when they think of the general 
low state of civilization which made such a war 
possible." ("Forty Years in the United States 
Army.") 

No student of events as recorded by the Northern 
press, could have failed to see, at the time of Sher- 
man's march through Georgia, and the GaroliUvas, 
that the war, as waged by the Federals, had assumed 
new horrors — new savagery. The fall of Atlanta,' 

358 



SURRENDER 

Hood's defeat in Tennessee; the defeat of the Dem- 
ocratic party in the Northern States; and the re- 
election of Lincoln; made the enemy confident of 
success, without the fear of invasion from Southern 
armies. The ruling party at the North became in- 
solent and ferocious. The mask of humanity was 
thrown off. The fires of pent-up hate flamed forth. 

The Generals commanding armies recognized 
that the road to popularity was to commit the great- 
est outrages possible, wherever their armies went. 
The land was desolated and scorched. All dwelling 
houses were robbed and then savagely fired. "Shrines 
of religion were violated. Women and children 
were insulted and sometimes killed; and in many 
households there was agony more bitter than 
death!" Sheridan vied with Sherman in the work 
of destruction and apeared to envy him his popu- 
larity as a ruffian and incendiary. He gleefully 
menhons, "I have destroyed over two thousand 
barns filled with wheat, besides dwelling houses in 
Rockingham County." 

A spectator, a Northern man with his army, 
touched by these scenes he was compelled to wit- 
ness, has thus written of them : "I have seen moth- 
ers weeping over the wanton destruction of that 
which was necessary to their children's lives; the 
completeness of the destruction is awful!" Yet 
what one Northern man looked upon with a sick- 
ened heart, was a pleasing picture to many others. 

The extent of this disposition to ravage the South 
when victory should have made the enemy gener- 
ous, appears almost incredible. General Sheridan 
many years after the war asked his Government to 
impower him to treat several hundred thousand 
citizens of the Southern States as "common ban- 
ditti. (See U. S. War Records). 

To return to Johnson's Island. We who were 
still held in prison were there to satisfy the demand 
for more blood. The Republican Press, reflecting 
the dominant opinion, cried aloud for victims. There 

359 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

must be sacrifices to Moloch. We were to be tried 
for treason. But we were not uneasy. Ex-Presi- 
dent Davis was soon captured, and enough lies told 
about it to satisfy the Yankee craving for the Mun- 
chausen. 

The returned prisoners from Andersonville 
grasped the opportunity to magnify their sufferings 
for the Union causes The government ofTicials had 
photographs taken of the most emaciated cases, 
which were circulated throughout the North, 
charging that Jeff Davis and Major Wirz were re- 
sponsible. Stanton was trying to cover his own and 
others' responsibility for rejecting the offers of ex- 
change made by Confederate authorities; thereby 
keeping the Federal prisoners in Andersonville to 
suffer and die. As has been proved. Under the ex- 
citement of tiie hour, the fanatics succeeded in mak- 
ing a majority at the North believe their lies, for 
a time. But after such great constitutional law- 
yers as Charles O'Connor of New York, Jerre Black 
of Pennsylvania, and even General Ben Butler of 
Massachusetts, had expressed the opinion that the 
Confederates were fighting under rights guaranteed 
by the iJ. S. Constitution as construed by the Su- 
preme Court, the demand for victims simmered 
down to Jefferson Davis and Major Wirz. 

As to Mr. Davis' capture* it was unfortunate for 
the North. The advice of Mr. Lincoln to let him get 
away, which was followed at first, as Davis passed 
through South Carolina and North East Georgia, 
where he could have been arrested, was reversed by 
President Johnston and Stanton. 

When Mr. Davis was shown President Johnson's 
Proclamation at Greensborough, Georgia, he should 
have gone to Augusta, surrendered and demanded a 
trial under the accusation. It would have been bet- 
ter, and more dignified. He had been the very ex- 
amplification of chivalry; and he had committed no 
act that would not bear legal investigation. It was 
shameful that his wife should have been subjected 



360 



SURRENDER 

to the insults she received when her husband was 
arrested. 

The North wished to obtain a moral vindication 
for the past war, by the conviction of Davis for 
treason. But when they found a man could not be 
punished for acting on an opinion which had di- 
dided the people for generations, (even the very 
founders of the Federal Constitution) they called a 
halt. The North feared to risk the question whether 
it had any superiority over the South in any re- 
spect, but thfit of Numbers and resources. Hence 
after three vears of imprisonment and subjection to 
harshness and abuse, a nolle prosequi was entered, 
as on indictment for treason, by the United States 
Court held in Richmond, Virginia, December,, 1868 
The North again made the mistake (so far as 
they were concerned) in trying to degrade Mr. Davis 
by making hiAi an exception to the general rule of 
its treatment of the lepding men of the Confed- 
eracy. From this point, it was easy for his coun- 
trymen to look upon b'm as a vicarious sufferer, 
bearing punishment frr the whole South. _ This 
view easilv passed into a romantic regard of him as 
the impersonification rf the Cause of the Confed- 
erctcy: ai^d so ^ny sev're criticism from Southern 
people of the South's President, has always been 
deprecated and resented. This fact accounts for the 
sensitiveness of Southern people today on the errors 
of Davis' administration. 

The fmal release of Mr. Davis from incarceration 
was a tacit justification of the South's interpreta- 
tion of the Constitution. 

During the thre'^ months after the surrender, 
while we were kept at Johnson's Island, the covm- 
try was making history in a hurry. We were posted 
as to what was going on through the New York 

papers though not allowed to receive the New 

York News, ov any other "Copperhead" paper. 

I was a prisoneT'-of-war from July 22nd, 1864. 
until September, 1865. Throughout the whole pe- 

361 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

riod I was intensely interested in everything con- 
cerning the Exchange of Prisoners: — hoping from 
the bottom of my heart that the cartel would, in 
obedience to the great clamor at the North for Ex- 
change, be resumed. 

I tried, through Northern friends and my rela- 
tives at Washington, Mrs. Louis Le Gonte, and her 
sister, Miss Margaret Nisbet, to get a special ex- 
change. They, knowing President Lincoln per- 
sonally, applied to him in my behalf. He answered 
favorably; but the matter was suspended. 

From the original, now in my possession, I copy 
a letter received by me at Johnson's Island, in June. 
Two months after the Surrender, I was still busy 
trying to get an order for my release: aided by an 
ante-bellum friend who was 'persona grata at Wash- 
ington. 

"Spingler Institute. 
"Park Ave. & 38th St., New York. 
"June 5th, 1865. 
"Col. J. Cooper Nisbet: 

"Johnson's Island, 0. 
"My Dear Sir: 

"Yours of May 31st just received. I thought it 
was from Mr. Schultz Leach, a nephew of Mrs. Ab- 
bot's who has been for some time at Johnston's 
Island, and I passed the letter to Mrs. Abbot. She 
returned it immediately to me, on discovering its 
address, and reading the first sentence. We read 
the rest together: and I assure you we have the 
strongest impulse to do everything in our power for 
your relief. 

"I will set myself at work today, and if it were 
not our Commencement next week, would proceed 
immediately to Washington, to see if I can accom- 
plish your object. You may be assured I will leave 
nothing undone in my power, that may promise any 
aid in your behalf. 

"Our old afTection for your sisters, and respect 
for your parents and personal regard for yourself, 

362 



SURRENDER 

will Ipad us to every effort that can encourage hope 
of success. 

"Yours Sincerely, 

"GORHAM D. ABBOTT." 



XXX. 

HOMEWARD BOUND. 

In September, 1865, came the order for our re- 
lease. We who had been, for over a year, so closely 
bound together by the strongest ties — comrades who 
had rubbed elbows with death too often to treat the 
King of Terrors with consideration! — were to sepa- 
rate. Some of the prisoners-of-war returned home 
from Sandusky by Louisville; some by St. Louis. 
I took my transportation via New York. 

During our military imprisonment I made many 
dear friends. These 'friendships abide. They will 
remain to me a blessed memory. A few of my com- 
panions in adversity, I have the good fortune to 
meet, from time to time, nowadays. 

In New York, friends of my father received me 
cordially. They offered me pecuniary assitance, 
which was declined. They offered me business op- 
portunities, which, likewise, were refused. Anxious 
to see the dear ones urging me to come directly 
home, I went on. My first stop was in Charlotte: 
to see Miss Mary E. Young; who afterward became 
my wife. She was the niece of Governor and ex- 
Senator Wm. E. Graham: the cousin of Mrs. Stone- 
wall Jackson: and the daughter of that noble sol- 
dier. Christian, and gentleman, General John Au- 
gustus Young, of Charlotte. 

In returning home through South Carolina, I 

363 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

passed over much of the route followed by Sher- 
man's army. 

I saw, once beautiful Columbia, in ashes. 

As Sherman's army advanced against that city, 
the Mayor and other citizens met him, and received 
his promise to spare their homes. No Confederate 
army was there, to offer resistance. No military 
necessity existed for this act of paramount destruc- 
tion. No hint of strategy excused it. Yet, he vio- 
lated his promise, and wantonly ordered the city to 
be sacked and destroyed! 

In his Memoirs, which are devoted to answering 
the charges of brutality with which he was as- 
sailed, Sherman acknow^ledges having accepted the 
hospitality of these people in ante-bellum times; 
when he was stationed at Charleston and Savannah. 
His return for bygone favors, was to put Columbia's 
generous homes to the torch! 

This was *'the Athens of the South," — the outcome 
of generations of gentle blood, culture, and leisure's 
oppoz^tunities. In Columbia, refmement had reached 
its zenith. There, bloomed a type of womanhood 
which only one pen knows how to describe. The 
genius of James Lane Allen makes this woman live 
again ! 

"She had the exquisiteness of a long past; during 
which women have been chosen in marriage for 
health, and beauty, and childFen, and the power to 
charm. The very curve of her neck, implied gen- 
erations of mothers who had valued grace. Gen- 
erations of forefathers had imparted to her walk 
and bearing, their courage and their pride. The pre- 
cisioiii of the eyebrows, the chiseled perfection of 
the nostrils, the loveliness of the short, red lip; thp 
eyes that were kind and truthful and thoughtful; 
the sheen of her hair; the firmness of her skin; her 
nobly c-ast figure — all these were evidences of de- 
scent from a people that had reached, in her, the 
purity, without having loist the vigor, of one of its 
highest types!" 



HOMEWARD BOUND 

\^'hite.law Roid, in his work, "Ohio in the War," 
describes the burning of Columbia as "the Most bar- 
baric act of this barbarous march!" Sherman's 
deed can be explained in one way. Full of the preju- 
dices and hatred inherited from his forbears, he 
seized the oportunity to wreak himself upon the 
Cavalier: and visit destruction upon women and 
children. 

Most of Sherman's officers and men — there were 
m_any honorable exceptions — were only too eager to 
execute his will to destroy and plunder. 

Some of his Vandals did blacker deeds — to their 
own destruction. I And in the "Reports Union and 
Confederate x^rmies: War of the Rebellion. Series 
L, Vol. 30, Page 690, Campaign in the Carolinas," a 
correspondence between Major-Gen. Kilpatrick. 
commanding Federal cavalry, and Lieut.-General 
Joseph Wheeler, commanding Confederate cavalry. 
In a communication sent under flag of truce. Gen. 
Kilpatrick complains that some of his marauders 
have been found "strung up" and threatens to re- 
taliate. 

General Wheeler replies: "Should you cause any 
of my men to be shot, because you chanced to find 
a number of your men dead, I shall regard them as 
so many murders committed by you, and shall act 
accordingly." Kilpatrick replying, is more moder- 
ate; but ends by saying: 

"I am alive to the fact that I am surrounded by 
citizens, as well as soldiers, whose bitter hatred to 
the men I have the honor to command, did not 
originate with this war : and I expect that some oth- 
ers of my men will be killed elsewhere than on the 
battle-field." 

This letter is a confirmation of what 1 have just 
said about "Inherited prejudices." 

More light is thrown on the above correspondence 
by one of the "human documents" in the case : Jno. 
Doyle, 826 E. 10th St., Chattanooga, Tenn., makes 
this statement; 

365 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

"I belonged to the 2nd Tenn. Cavalry Regiment, 
Ashby's Brigade, Humes' Division. It was a part 
of Ge^neral Wheeler's Corps. We were on the spot 
when the letters were exchanged between Kilpatrick 
and Gen. Wheeler. I heard about the matter, and 
questioned a man named Cooper, who was "one of 
the sixteen." Cooper was a machinist working for 
Tom Webster in Chattanooga, when he enlisted in 
Captain Spiller's Company — which was recruited in 
Chattanooga, for the 4th Tenn. Cavalry. Cooper 
was one of the sixteen men Kilpatrick forced to 
draw lots to determine who was to be shot, in re- 
taliation. Kilpatrick, however, after receiving 
Wheeler's reply to his threat, concluded it would be 
equivalent to "raising the black flag." Wheeler then 
had over five hundred prisoners. Kilpatrick thought 
the hanging of a few rapists did not call for such a 
sacrifice as must follow 'retaliation.' " 

"The sixteen of Kilpatrick's men who were hung, 
were captured by scouts from a Texas regiment, 
commanded by Captain Shannon: who had them 
executed because they were caught in the act of 
violating women." The execution had a very 
wholesome effect. 

The veteran asserted that his Regiment "was will- 
ing for the 'Black Flag' to be raised. Ashby's Bri- 
gade was well armed, and well mounted: and did 
not fear the result." 

How every feature in that desolate land through 
which I journeyed in Sherman's track starts into 
life once more. For fifty years, upon the palimpsest 
of memory has been written and re-written the 
chronicle of life. But the sub-conscious mind has 
retained every impression. Time cannot erase one 
line of the original writing. Victor Hugo observes : 
"Forgetfulness is nothing but a palimpsest. An in- 
cident happens imexpectedly, and all that was ef- 
faced revives in the blanks of wondering memory." 

Or as somebody else phrases it: "It responds to 
our conscious mental solicitude, by a favorable ex- 

366 



HOMEWARD BOUND 

posure to a persistent murmur of psychic stimula- 
tions." 

Those sub-conscious products of our intelUgence 
are wrought, as Dr. Holmes says, "in the under- 
ground workshop of thought." And as Munster- 
burg asks: "Is not every memory-picture, every 
remembrance of remote experience, a sufTicient 
proof that the sub-conscious mind holds its own?" 

When Alaric (400 A, D.) invaded Italy with his 
German horde and beheld the fertile and beautiful 
country outspread at his feet, his heart was soft- 
ened. He made a treaty to spare Rome; took a ran- 
som and moved out of Italy. 

Afterwards in the year A. D. 450, still in the dark 
ages, Attila the Hun, called the "Scourge of God," 
invaded fair Italy with his barbaric horde from the 
North; seven hundred thousand men. Pope Leo 1st, 
at the head of an embassy, met him. Like the Goth, 
Attila, too, promised to spare Rome for a ransom. 
History records, to his honor, that he kept his prom- 
ise. 

But it remained for General W. T. Sherman, in 
the 19th Century of our boasted civilization, to spurn 
all overtures for mercy from non-combatant Amer- 
icans! He organized two "bummer corps," as he 
named them, to march on his flanks; that the de- 
struction of private property (much of it belonging 
to widows and orphans) might reach a wider area. 
This was not strategy. It was ferocity! It was the 
desire to witness the suffering of women and chil- 
dren. The lust for destruction. The desire to ruin 
South Carolina as he ruined Georgia; as per his 
order No. 120. What a contrast to this was Lee's 
Invasion of Pennsylvania, which is here put on 
record. 

General Robt. E. Lee's Penn. Order. 

In the interest of civilized and Christian warfare, 
and as an inspiration to American soldiers in all the 

367 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

future, these words of Lee ought to be printed and 
preserved in letters of gold: 

"Headquarters Army of Northern Va. 

"Ghambersburg, Pa. 
"June 27th, 1863. 
"General Order No. 78. 

"The commanding General has observed with 
marked satisfaction the conduct of the troops on 
the march and confidently anticipates results com- 
mensurate with the high spirit they have mani- 
fested. No troops could have displayed greater for- 
titude or better performed the marches of the past 
ten days. Their conduct in other respects has with 
few exceptions been in keeping with their charac- 
ters as soldiers and entitles them to approbation and 
praise. 

"There have, however, been instances of forgetful- 
ness on the part of some that they have in keeping 
the unsullied reputation of the army, and that the 
duties exacted of us by civilization and Christianity 
are not less obligatory in the country of the enemy, 
than in our own. 

"The commanding General considers that no 
greater disgrace could befall the army, and through 
it our whole people, than the perpetration of tlie 
barbarous outrages upon the innocent and defence- 
less, and the wanton destruction of private property 
that have marked the course of the enemy in our 
own country. Such proceedings not only disgrace 
the perpetrators, and all connected with them, but 
are subversive of discipline and efficiency of the 
army and destructive of the ends of our present 
movements. It must be remembered that we make 
war only on armed men, and that we cannot take 
vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered 
without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whoso 
abhor^nce has been excited by the atrocities of our 
enemy, and offending against Him to whom ven- 
geance belongeth. Without whose favor and sup- 
port oiiP efforts must all prove in vain. The com- 

368 



HOMEWARD BOUND 

manding General therefore earnestly exhorts the 
troops to abstain with most scrupulous care from 
unnecessary and wanton injury to private property, 
and enjoins upon all of!lcers to arrest and bring to 
summary punishment all who shall in any way of- 
fend against the orders on this subject. 

"R. E. LEE, General." 

Col. Freemantle of the English Army, who ac- 
corlipanied General Lee in his invasion of Pennsyl- 
vania, has given to the world his testimony to the 
effect that "there was ho Straggling into private 
homes, nor were thd inhabitants disturbed or an- 
noyed by the soldiers." 

He adds, that "in View of the ravages which I saw 
in the valley of Virginia the forbearance was most 
commendable and surprising." 

I Reached my father's temporary home at Gulver- 
tou; Hancock Co., Georgia; and was joyously re- 
ceived. My brother. Major Jno. W. Nisbet, vras 
there, having been paroled by Major General Jas. H. 
Wilson in MaCon^ as I have mentioned. 

This was a happy family reunion after four years 
of separation. The two boys festered to the family, 
sound and well, after passing through many battles 
and the dangers of the march ahd camp for four 
years. We were all very happy. In spite of the 
Confederacy's downfall; Which of course we had to 
deplore: in spite of "free niggers," that we had to 
endure; I never fenjoyed a visit more than those 
two weeks at Gulverton. 



:CS 



XXXI. 

MACON. 

At length I went to Macon, hoping to find work, 
and get hold of some of the filthy — greenback — 
lucre. 

Arriving there at night, I stopped at the historic 
Lanier House, built and conducted by the grand- 
father of Sidney Lanier. The elder Lanier was a 
Virginia gentleman of the Old School. In ante-bel- 
lum days the Lanier House was the rendezA'^ous of 
the haul ton. 

Many of the most famous voices — on or off the 
stage — of that day, were heard in the Lanier House 
parlors. Many and many a grand ball was given 
there, then; in Macon's palmy days. 

But on this autumn night of 1865, when, once 
more, I found myself within the familiar corridors 
and reception rooms, it was all "Loin du Bal." And 
oh, where were the sweet voices that once made 
music there? Echoes! Echoes! — 
"All the songs 

She sung me at Lanier's." 

"The harp that once through Tara's halls 

The soul of music shed. 
Now silent hangs on Tara's walls 

As though that soul were dead." 

No social function more famous ever occurred at 
Macon at that period than a cerain reception given 
at the Lanier House by the citizens of Macon, to 
General Mirabeau B. Lamar. The occasion was 
Lamar's first visit to his old home, after a term of 
office as President of the Republic of Texas. That 

370 



MACON 

was a grand ball, indeed. Old Macon showed up in 
great shape. As Mayor of Macon, my father had 
the conduct of affairs. 

Hundreds of the belles and beaux of Middle Geor- 
gia were in attendance. Half of the cities in Georgia 
had lionized Lamar. The gallant old soldier was 
the embodiment of cultivation and elegance. More- 
over, he was a poet. An edition de luxe of his 
poems contained one (then) well-known lyric. It 
was inscribed to "The Jenny Lind of Georgia," as 
Miss Irene Nisbet was termed. Two or three verses 
of General Lamar's poem are here quoted: 

"I well remember all the songs 

She sung me at Lanier's; 
They fell upon my melting heart 

Like music from the spheres: 
And still, as sweet as silver bells 

O'er waters, heard at e'en; 
The siren notes are sounding on 

Of beautiful Irene. 

There is no winter where she smiles, 

No darkness where she dwells; 
She is the morning on the hills. 

And May among the dells. 
The groves and valleys know their spring. 

The roses know their queen. 
And all the wild-birds sing in tune 

To beautiful Irene. 

Oh, let me wander where I may. 

From Georgia's valleys bright. 
To where the Brazos rolls its waves 

In musical delight — 
Fond memory still will turn to hail, 

Through every changing scene. 
The gem that decks her native land — 

The beautiful Irene." 

371 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING UNE 

Macon was the headquarters of General Jas. H. 
Wilson, Gorrtmandant of the Department. I re- 
ported to him on my arrival, and was treated cour- 
teously^ Inhere were crowds of negroes from the 
plantations, enjoying freedom: idling around b\ 
day, and stealing at night; assisted by some of the 
soldiers, who still contended it was no moral wrong 
to take anything they could get from the "dam-reb- 
els." But General Wilson, besides being a distin- 
guished soldier, was also a gentleman, and did all 
he could to prevent marauding. 

He is still held in great esteem by the citizens of 
Macon and Middle Georgia. 

It is therefore a pleasure to insert here a short 
sketch of the life of Major General Jas. Harrison 
Wilson. He Was born and reared in Illinois. Grad- 
uated at West Point and was asigned to the Engi- 
neering Dept. U, S. A. Was aide to General McClel- 
lan in the Maryland campaign: took part in the 
operations around Vicksburg and Chattanooga. 

Was promoted Brigadier General of Volunteers in 
1863, Breveted Major General Volunteers 1864. Par- 
ticipated in the battles of Franklin and Nashville. 

In January, 1865, he was authorized to organize 
a Division of mounted men by selection, promotion 
from the Infantry for gallant service. It was the 
only Cavalry command thus formed during the war, 
and therefore the most successful of Federal raiders. 

In March, 1865, was sent on a Cavalry expedition 
(or raid) into Alabama and Georgia. General N. B. 
Forrest tried to concentrate one of his Divisions to 
meet Wilson at Selma; but two of his Brigades mis- 
understood his order, went to the wrong place, and 
did not get to Selma in time for the fight. Forrest 
led his one Brigade in person^ but Wilson had too 
many for him, and he had to cut his way out. 

In twenty-eight (28) days General Wilson cap- 
tured Selma, Montgomery, Columbus and Macon. 
He commanded Department of Georgia Headquar- 
ters at Macon in 1865. Resigned in 1870 to engags 

372 



MACON 

in large engineering and railroad operations and 
projects. In May, 1898, he was appointed Major 
General Volunteers and commanded the 1st Division, 
1st Corps, in the Porto Rico campaign under Gen- 
eral Milps. He took part In the "China Relief FA'pe- 
dition" in 1900. Was author of "China Travels in 
the Middle Kingdom," and with Chas. A. Dana 
wrote the hiography of Genl. U. S. Grant, under 
whom he served in the Wilderness campaign, 
Vicksburg ahd Chattanooga, 

Many of the formerly rich young men, who had 
returnpd from the army, were to be seen at the "La- 
nier House." playing billiards and sitting around, 
damning their luck— discussing the possibility of 
ever making free-niggers work, and telling war 
yarhs, between drinks. But there were many others, 
who to thPir credit went to work as soon as they 
returned home. The warehouses were full of cot- 
ton, worth from fifty to sixty cents per pound, and 
there were many buyers; all clamoring to get their 
cotton shipped. 

Transportation was the problem. The Central 
Railroad to Savannah was still in the state of wreck 
{Sherman left it. Cotton had to be sent to the coast 
via Ocmulgee River on flat-boats: which were be- 
ing built and loaded as fast as possible. One dollar 
per bale was the charge to take it from the Ware- 
house to the river. Locks were broken and mules 
stolen every night, so the business of draying, 
though very lucrative, was precarious. 

However, pePple will take risks when the stake 
is tempting. So I found the demand for mules good- 
That night I was the guest of my sister Irene. Her 
husband, Col. Geo. H. Hazelhurst, came in, and 
after a cordial greeting and general family talk, he 
asked that universal question, "What are you going 
to do?" I answered, "I have been looking around 
today and I find there is a good demand for mules, 
owing to the great activity in the cotton market." 
Col. Hazelhurst said, "Yes, the mule trade is good; 

25 373 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

go in, and I will back you." So I negotiated a loan 
from him of $50.00 and he gave me a pass over his 
railroad, the Macon and Brunswick, to Buzzard 
Roost. 

He said that Henry Bunn had a large number of 
fine mules for sale at $50.00 each. The next day I 
went out to the Tarver-Wimberly settlement in 
Twiggs County. Mr. Bunn was glad to see me; 
showed me fifty mules, and I selected one and paid 
him for it. He said I could have them all at the 
same price, as the Yankee soldiers and negroes were 
stealing them. Mrs. Bunn was a connection and old 
friend of our family. I accepted their urgent invi- 
tation to remain over night. The next day I rode 
my mule to Macon (40 miles) and sold him to Dolph 
Powell, a young man who had kept out of the army 
and made money by speculating. He had opened a 
bank, after the surrender, and was running drays; 
shipping cotton bought with Confederate money. 
Many people thought he was "mighty smart." He 
gave me $75.00 for the mule, saying the "dam-Yan- 
kees and negroes" had broken the lock on his stable 
door the night before and taken out a pair of mules. 
He agreed to take two more at the same price, which 
I bought from Mr. Bunn at fifty dollars each and de- 
livered to Powell next day. 

I might have gotten more by looking around, but 
"quick sales and small profits" was my motto. I 
continued in the mule trade, finally getting $100 
each for the best, as the times got settled, until I had 
cleared four good mules to take to my farm, and 
money enough to rebuild considerable fencing and 
sow a small wheat crop. 

In the meantime some of the boys, my old 
friends, were guying me about my work. One of 
them said, "Say, Nisbet, you don't look quite as 
swell as you did a little while back; at the head of 
your big regiment ; riding your thorough-bred mare. 
What are you doing there, perched on that son of 

374 



MACON 

f\ donkey, who is 'without the pride of ancestry or 
the hope of posterity?' " 

I said, "Yes, T am dealing in a Southern product 
that is entirely insensible to Yankee malice. But, 
boys, that's a good one, and puts 'em on me. Come 
on ; the success of my enterprise makes me feel like 
a millionaire!" I added, as we looked through our 
glasses, darkly. "As to my present business — the 
dignity of a past career may be maintained in pov- 
erty. 'A man may with honor betake himself to 
those occupations which are within the limits of 
his faculties and opportunities;' so needing ready 
money, I waive the honors of war, and am in the 
mule trade!" 

Bill Tooke, "the pessimist of Ghickahominy 
swamp," was listening. I said, "Hello, Bill, you did 
pull through after all?" "Yes, by a tight squeeze. 
But things are going dam-badly with me now! 
Dam-badly, Nisbet! Two big cotton plantations 
lying idle! Five hundred 'Tooke niggers' loaflng 
around this town, eating Government rations, and 
'marchin' wid de cullud S'cieties;' cotton hanging 
in the bolls all over this glorious land and country? 
Worth fifty cents a pound ! Good Lord ! — If 'de bu- 
reau' and the Yankee school ma'ams would let the 
niggers alone, they'd pick out the cotton, and make 
good wages. I'll tell you, Nisbet; Ihe U. S. Govern- 
ment ought to discontinue this dam-freedman's-bu- 
reau, and start a Department of Evolution. Reckon 
somebody will fmd out after a while how many mil- 
lion years after the white race got into the Garden 
of Eden, the black race shed their tails! I'll tell you, 
Cooper Nisbet,— It's 'Over the Hill to the Poor- 
House,' for William Tooke, Esq.! H-m-m! Let's 
have a drink. Have a cigar. Regular 'Henry Clay/ 
—Yes." 

In Macon, I met many of my Regiment, 66th Ga. 
Some of them were famous story-tellers: all re- 
counting interesting incidents of the war. 

375 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

We missed many of our boyhood friends: who 
had heroically laid down their lives in defense of 
the Southern Cause. 

Colonel John Hill Lamar — my old college chum — 
was killed gallantly .leading his Regiment, the 61st 
Ga., at Monocasy., . A braver, nobler spirit never de- 
fended any country ! The same eulogy applies to 
Col. Jno. B. Lamar: killed at Crampton's Gap; — to 
Col. Robt. A. Smith: killed at the head of his Regi- 
ment, at Ellison's Mill, near Richmond. — to Col. 
George A. Smith: First Confederate Infantry, killed 
at the battle of Atlanta ; — and to Lieut. Willie Ross : 
66th Ga. Reg.: .killed at Jonesboro. 

Many who had received wounds, were there: no- 
tably Captain Charley Williamson, and Capt. Briggs 
Moultrie Napier: both gallant fellows bearing me- 
mentoes of "Peachtree Creek." Col. Thos. Harde- 
man, of the 45th Ga., was in hot pursuit of cotton — 
instead of "the enemy." This was one of Georgia's 
sons whom all delighted to honor. 

Col. L, M. Lamar, of the famous 8th Georgia In- 
fantry, after surviving many wounds, received in 
numerous battles^ was debonair and handsome as 
ever. And there were many ex-sergeants — corporals 
— privates: all with matchless records. Many of 
these, though of lesser military rank, were men with 
ancient lineages behind theni: equalling any in 
America. Among them were Grenville (Tobe) Con- 
nor, the Adonis of Macon, and Sydney Lanier, with 
his pale poetic face, already showing the inroads 
military service had made on his constitution. 
Even then his rhythmic pulses beat "trippingly 
as dactyls", to "The Song of the Chattahoochee:" 
"The Sonata:" and many another virile poem,^ — 
destined to lend lustre to his name. 

Here, too, was handsome Thad. Holt, the dashing 
Cavalryman. And Charley Wylie, late Ad'j't of the 
heroic "44th"— now Gen'l Com'd'g the Middle-Ga. 
Division U G. V., and Ordinary of Bibb County. 

But the biggest man there was Howell Cobb, law • 

376 



MACON 

yer, statesman, soldier; bluff, brave and brainy. He 
had doffed his faded suit of gray — worn with so 
much honor — to don the toga once more. He had 
resumed his law practice, with his relative, the dis- 
tinguished jurist, Judge James Jackson. Soon after- 
ward these two were merged into another strong 
law-team, and "Nisbet, Cobb, Jackson and Bacon" 
(the late Senator) became the quintet which dom- 
inated the courts of Georgia, and other Southern 
States, for years. 

Taken all in all. General Howell Cobb was the 
greatest man Georgia ever produced. 

In thinking over the array of Georgia's greatest 
sons, many men of pre-eminent gifts occur to us. 
General Robt. Toombs, Benjamin H. Hill, Alexander 
H. Stephens, General T. R. R. Cobb, and others who 
fill the Valhalla of genius. But for scope of attain- 
ments. General Howell Cobb excelled them all! He 
died suddenly; in New York City. The Bar of Geor- 
gia said of him, "Public life did not cool the warmth 
of his heart; and he was mourned by more sincere 
friends than any man that ever lived in Georgia." 

But of all the talkers assembled around the old 
Lanier House that Fall, Campbell Tracy, the wag of 
Colquitt's Brigade, was the best. I must mention 
one of his yarns. Telling of Stoneman's raid and 
capture (1864), he said: 

"I was sent from Virginia here, wounded and on 
crutches. General Joseph Wheeler despatched from 
up about x\tlanta, that 'Stoneman's raiders' were 
mg^king for Macon, and that the citizens and the 
convalescent sick and wounded soldiers must or- 
ganize and meet him on the east side of the river, 
and hold him until his (Wheeler's) Cavalry (Tver- 
son's brigade) could come up. Everybody, old and 
young, sick and well, organized into companies and 
went over across the river: armed as best thev could. 
The cripples were takeyi out to fight in vehicles! 

"We went into line of battle in a swamp; de- 
ployed as skirmishers and were all posted behind 

Z77 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

trees. I was well flanked: the venerable Dr. Wills, 
pastor First Presbyterian church, was on my right; 
and that good old father in Israel, the Rev. Dr. J. E. 
Evans, Mulberry St. Methodist church, was on my 
left; a veteran soldier having been thus wisely 
placed, all along the line between the citizens ! Soon 
Stoneman came up, and the flring commenced. His 
first advance was repulsed, but he soon got a battery 
in position, and opened on us with that. A second 
charge on our line was driven back, and everything 
was going on as lively as in old Virginia, when on 
their third advance a Yank got a side shot at me as 
I leaned against my tree to shoot. His bullet went 
between my lip and the bark, the shock knocking 
me off my crutches. As I fell, the blood flowed 
freely, my lip having been cut by pieces of the bark. 

"Old Parsons Wills, and Evans, quit firing, and 
ran to my assistance. I told them I was not much 
hurt; to help me up, and go back and keep firing, 
or the enemy would break through the line! ! But 
wishing to help me {thinking I needed surgical aid) 
and knowing they needed to get off the firing line! — 
they insisted on picking me up, nolens volens. They 
had me hoisted up as high as their shoulders! — 
me just a kickin' and a cussin' ! Parson Evans said, 
'Campbell, ain't you afraid to take the name of the 
Lord in vain, right here in the presence of Death, 
Hell and Destruction?' Just then a shell bursted 
close by. They let me drop and broke for the rear! 
I called to them for God's sake to come back, or the 
Yanks would break through the line ! I swore some 
more, and they came back, and helped me to my 
tree. I said to them, as we resumed the shooting, 
'I tell you, boys, you like to have broke my wounded 
leg over! Don't you try that stunt again!' 

"We drove Stoneman's men back again. And in 
the meantime General Alfred Iverson's Brigade Cav- 
alry came up in their rear, and as you know, we 
captured most of the raiding party, including Gen'l 
Stoneman." 

378 



MACON 

One of the boys said: "That reminds me of a 
good one on old Tracy. I must tell it on him. Soon 
after the surrender we were trying to 'drown our 
sorrow in the flowing bowl.' One day Tracy 
had looked upon the wine when it was red' 
once too often, when we started up Mulberry 
Street to our homes. We had proceeded to 
'Stroheker's Corner' when we spied the Rev. J. 
E. Evans coming! Tracy said, 'Here comes my 
esteemed old friend Parson Evans. I love him, 
if he did drop me on the firing line! We must 
respectfully salute him.' Tracy knew the un- 
certain condition of his legs, but he thought if he 
was steady, he was all right other ways, and that 
the Parson would not notice his boozy condition. 
He leaned against a friendly lamp-post, and as the 
clerical old gentleman approached, Tracy politely 
greeted him, 'Good evening, Misther Evans.' Cam. 
hoped he would return the salutation and pass on. 
But no; he stopped; (and thinking a word of admo- 
nition would be timely, and do good) said, 'Gamp- 
bell, it grieves my heart to see the son of my hon- 
ored oid friend. Judge Tracy, "going the downward 
road." You have made a splendid soldier. God has 
spared your life through many dangers. Campbell ! 
r am sorry.' Tracy thought that was rubbing it in 
some, so he braced up and said, 'Misther Evans 
(Hie) are you right sorry?' 'Yes, Campbell, I am 
truly sorry.' 'Well, then (Hie) / forgive you!'" 

The city and town boys took defeat hard at first, 
but they soon went to work. The country boys 
"pitched" a crop at once and took the result stoic- 
ally. The condition of the South today is the out- 
come of their combined labors. 

About the first of November I rode to Atlanta, 
taking four mules, with the help of one of my negro 
boys who wished to return to the Cloverdale farm. 
I passed over the route taken by another of Sher- 
man's Bummer corps (the right wing) on his march 
to the sea. This was indicated by those mute re- 

379 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIHING LINE 

mipders, the blackened chimneys of burnt dwell- 
ings. But Dear Old Georgia, my n;iother State, still 
looked beautiful, even in her ashes! 

"Between her rivers and beside the Sea 
My native land, what fairer land can be? 

The lyric rapture in her leaping rills, 
The crown imperial on her purple hills. 

Richer than Rome! when God's great chariot rolls, 
Imperial Georgia! count thy children's souls." 



xxxu. 

"GARTHAGENA DELENDA EST." 

Atlanta lay desolate!— a mass of ruins,— except 
a few dwellings: the Headquarters of General of- 
ficers. One of these was the Lyon House, on Wash- 
ington Street, where I lodged,. 

As I looked around, I was reminded of Scipio's 
despatch to Rome : "Garthagena delenda est." The 
Yankees had done everything to the little town that 
the Romans did to the great city, but "plow up the 
ground, and sow it with salt." 

Notwithstanding that the place was an ash-heaj), 
a fme spirit of optimism was in the air as to At- 
lanta's future. A mirage of Atlanta-to-be shone be- 
fore every eye. 

I met many old acquairitances. Two members of 
my old Regiment 66th Ga., Captain Tom Langston 
and Major G. G. Hammock, my former Quarter-Mas- 
ter, had already formed a partnership in the whole- 
sale grocery business. They had built a temporary 
shack, which ere long grew into a large concern. 

380 



••CARTHAGENA DELENDA EST " 

Captain Tom Gastleberry of the 21st Ga.— elsewhere 
mentioned as being so seriously wounded at Antie- 
tam— was in the building business. He certainly 
had a big field for his operations!— and he made a 
big success of it. He was long identified with the 
city government. Gastleberry Street is named for 
him. His quondam Lieutenants, Hazlitt, Rucker and 
Jones, were another new firm. , 

My mules were shipped to Chattanooga via the 
cripiDled State Railroad. 

My trip over the W. and A. R. R. was haunted 
with retrospection. The hundred days of the John- 
son-Sherman campaign, passed in review before 
my mind's eye. Here were the immutable land- 
marks of battle. 

*** *** *** 

The Chattahoochee River : Old, entangling Sibyl ! 
It was tjou who whispered to listening armies the 
ancient oracle : 

"His sword t|ie brave man draws : 
And asks no omen — but his country's cause!" 



Yonder, Kennesaw! Our Druid Altar: hung with 
oak and mistletoe, — and dedicated to human sac- 
rifices! God! How the blood was poured out at 
the foot of that old mountain. For seventeen days 
and nights! 

Throughout those seventeen days, it rained. In 
the shade of our bush-arbors the heat was a hun- 
dred and ten degrees. When the shells knocked our 
bushes down about our ears, there was no chance 
to put them in place again until night fell: — with 
any luck in eluding the sharpshooters. The only 
breeze that fanned our faces was from the enemy's 
bullets. And we dared not stand erect in the 
trenches; even at midnight. 

The stream of bullets never stopped. 



381 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Etowah, next: — where we crossed to meet 

Sherman's flanldng Corps; at New Hope. 

• ** *** *** 

Thf Oostanaula, at Resacca: — where Sherman 
thought he held "the Joker" on Johnson — if Mc- 
Pherson had only played the hand! But Johnson 

was not euchered! 

*** ♦*♦ *** 

Ringgold Gap: — where Hooker ran in his three 
pursuing Divisions to gather up what remained of 
Bragg's Artillery and Army trains, once more found 
"The Wizard of War" — Cleburne — his Division just 
as "full of fight" as at Missionary Ridge! 

Ringgold Gap was Hooker's Hoo-Doo. 

Chattanooga still wore the aspect of War. Gov- 
ernment, Commissary and Quartermaster buildings 
lined the streets: long, one-story structures, from 
Market to Broad, and from Market to Cherry, were 
full of army supplies. Sutler's stores — little, low 
wooden shanties — were everywhere. Liquor and 
eatables were sold in them. 

A negro brigade, stationed in the town, lorded it 
over the citizens : committing many dastardly deeds. 
In one instance their bestiality was visited on a 
prominent family. The negro ofTicers refused to 
investigate the atrocity. A white ex-ofTicer of a 
negro regiment, practicing law in Chattanooga then, 
refused to prosecute the negro rufTians even for a 
very large fee : Two thousand dollars. Colonel John 
Divine had loaned the money to prosecute this 
crime. 

A metropolitan police appointed by Governor 
Brownlow, terrorized the town. Abel Pearson was 
Chief of Police. The policemen were Brownlow's 
toughs. Afterward, there were negro police. John 
Lovell, a notorious negro gambler and rowdy, the 
political negro boss, ran a dive on Market street, 
between 9th and 10th Sts.— a gambling "suck hole" 
and "ethnological whirlpool" as well! 

382 



I was glad to get away from the town! — and 
breathed freer when on my way around Old Look- 
out: "hitting the grit" for home! 



XXXIII. 

LOOKOUT VALLEY. 

On through the Valley,and familiar scenes. Here, 
my Brigade swapped tobacco for cofTee, with Qar- 
lin's Brigade : on Chattanooga Greek. There, the hill 
at St. Elmo, where we camped while Hooker fought 
his Battle Above the Clouds. And yonder, across 
the river, darkled Stringer's Ridge — where those 
batteries of siege-guns — vicious twenty-pound Par- 
rots — were planted, en barbette. 

And here it was that Jenkin's South Carolina 
Brigade thought to surprise Hooker's advance-guard 
by a sudden night-attack; ran into a corps of twenty 
thousand men, — and were glad to get back across 
Lookout Creek. More of Bragg's strategy, this ! 

After four years in the army, I was again in my 
home county, a county which had given but one 
vote for immediate secession, and which had sent 
delegates to the Georgia State Convention of '61 in- 
structed to vote for Go-operation with other States 
on the basis of Peace and Union. Thus they voted • 
with Alex. H. Stephens, Ben Hill, Herschell V. John- 
son, and others. But fmally, Dade's delegates signed 
the ordinance of secession. 

After Lincoln issued his Proclamation of Coer- 
cion, this Union County which though containing 
few slaves, believed in States' Rights, stood fast for 
those principles and Old Georgia :-— sending more 
men into the Confederate army than she had voters. 
But not one organized Company was sent to the 
Union army. There were some deserters who 

383 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

joined the marauders known as the "home guard.'' 

In fact, Dade claims to be the banner volunteer 
county of the Confederacy. 

As I rode on, I was frequently hailed by returned 
soldiers, who were at work in the fields, plowing 
or gathering corn. One man called out: 

"Hello, Colonel Nisbet! You just getting back?" 

"Yes, Jeff. How long have you been home?" 

"Made, a crop since I got back from Appomat- 
tox."- 

"I believe you went out with General John B. 
Gordon?" said I. 

"Yes. I wa,s a member of The Raccoon Boughs, 
6th Ala. Reg. Gordon took his company into the 
service April, 1861, just after old Abe. Lincoln is- 
sued that Proclamation callin' us all out to fight our 
neighbors. Well, I went out: and staid four years 
— fighting for States' Rights, and Old Georgia — 
an' I aint got no regrets!" 

"I had to swallow the oath of allegiance. Expect 
to keep it in good faith. Am a good Union citizen, 
now; \ reckon — But I tell you them dam-Yanks bet- 
ter not come nosein' roun' my tater-patch!" 

"You must be proud of the record The Raccoon 
Roughs made in Virginia. Every man of that Com- 
pany is a hero." 

'How proudly Jeff answered! 

"Yes, Sir! We seen our duty, an' we done it! 
Yes, S%r! We promoted our old Captain, John B. 
Gordon, to Lieutenant-General ! — next to General 
Lee!" 

"You did, Jeff!" 

"I must turn two acres to-day," he observed, as 
I was saying good-by; "it's time wheat was in the 
ground. But farm-work goes hard with me, some- 
how. Had nothin' much to do for four years, 
Colonel, but drill a little, — and shoot Yankees. If 
old Marse Robert had n't a said quit! — Well, maybe 
it's all for the best. — Git-up, thar — Mandy! Yer 
lazy heifer! Gee-ee!" 

384 



LOOKOUT VALLEY 

As an illustration of this spirit which animated 
ex-Confederate soldiers, one incident will be men- 
tioned. At this period Berry Burnet, of Dade 
County, chanced to encounter a squad of Federal 
soldiers at Shellmound, a depot on the N. & C. R. R., 

wh'^re the latter were stationed. One of them 
stepped up to Burnett, saying: "Say, Johnnie; you 
can't wear those buttons round here!" Burnett re- 
plied: "This old uniform is the onlv suit I have." 
The Yank returned: "Well, I'll just" cut these but- 
tons off." Said Burnett: "If you try that, I'll kill 
you." "Oh, no; I guess not!" retorted the Yank, 
an^'l advancing, succeeded in cutting off one button, 
Burnett drew a pistol and killed him. The squad 
shot Burnett down: shot him all to pieces! Severely 
wounded as he was, Burnett was sent to Nashville 
to be tried by court-martial. In the meantime, his 
fripnds got up some money, went to Nashville, and 
used it with those in authority, — so report said. 
Certain it is, Burnett got out of his scrape; returned 
home, and we elected him SherifT. This was the 
last and only time Federal soldiers attempted any 
pranks with the buttons on "the old gray coat," in 
Dade. Burnett still lives on his farm in Georgia: 
the man invincible] A braver man than Berry Bur- 
nett never lived. He is a highly respected citizen 
of his community. 

Nearly fifty years have passed since that day. 
Most of those grand men have "passed over the 
river, and rest under the shade of the trees." Many 
of their descendants have gone West. Many more 
are merged in the busy life of the city. 

Beautiful little Dade! "The Tyrol of the West." 
But few of thy "laboring swains" or "bold yeo- 
manry, their country's pride" remain. "Far.' far 
away^. thy children leave the land." And the towns 
once the loveliest villages of the plain," — are merely 
little empty honey-combs, left hanging to the bee- 
gums of Time! Their young life flown away. 

385 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Gloverdale, one of the model stock farms of Geor- 
gia in 1861, I found in a wrecked condition: stock 
all gone, and the fencing all destroyed. A part of 
Sheridan's Division camped on the farm as they 
marched to Chickamauga. Brig. Gen. W. H. Lytle 
occupied a part of my house a few days before he 
was killed. 

As to this, my mother described the "occupation" 
in these words: "The summer of 1863, as you 
know, we were spending on your farm in Lookout 
Valley. About Sept. 15th we heard that Sheridan's 
Federal Division was approaching: from Valley 
Head, Ala. Very soon. General Lytle rode up. He 
demanded the use of a part of our house for his 
Headquarters. He was courteous. He said he would 
remain but a short time, and would post a guard to 
protect us from intruders. 'Madam,' he said to me, 
army?' I replied: 'Yes, General; my two sons en- 
listed in the Confederate army early in 1861. They 
are just where I want them to be, as long as this 
'I am informed that you have two sons in the Rebel 
unhappy war lasts.' He answered: 'Madam, I re- 
spect your adherence to a principle you think 
right!' He added: 'On our side, there are men 
fighting who are animated by inherited preju- 
dices: old issues started long since, in England. 
With many others the freedom of the negro is the 
inciting cause of their activity. I am fighting to 
preserve the Union of the States. But I do not make 
war on women and children; or wantonly destroy 
private property.' Your father came in, was intro- 
duced, and after a short conversation the General 
said, 'Mr. Nisbet, as you are a Confederate sympa- 
thizer, I will have to put you on parole not to leave 
your premises until we move away.' 

"I had your old cook, Myra, who, you know, is 
skilled in all the excellencies of Middle Georgia 
cuisine. 

"To simplify matters, I invited the General and 
his staff to take their mpals with us. He was pleased 

386 



LOOKOUT VALLEY 

to know that we were conversant with his writings. 
One of his poems, 'Anthony's Farewell to Cleo- 
patra.' was recited by my little niece, Anna Wing- 
field." (Colonel Reaif mentions that General Lytle 
— under a presentiment of death — wrote the poem 
the night before he was killed. Perhaps the author 
penned from memory that fatal night, the noble 
lyric which he had previously published. It had 
appeared two or three years before that time.) My 
mother continued: "After leaving your farm Sher- 
idan's Corps moved across Lookout Mountain. The 
sound of cannon could be heard on the 18th, 19th 
and 20th of September; then at night, all was still. 
Your father and some of your neighbors hastened 
over there, the morning of the 21st, when they re- 
turned we rejoiced to hear of the victory, but 
mourned the death of General Peyton Colquitt, and 
other Georgia friends. And we regretted poor Gen- 
eral Lytle's untimely end. 

"He"^was a man above the ordinary petty, con- 
tracted Northern soldiers. He was not only brave 
and talented; he was a gentleman." 

Brig. General W. H. Lytle was born in Cincinnati 
1826 of distinguished parentage. He served in the 
war with Mexico as a Captain in the 2nd Ohio In- 
fantry. In 1857 he was a candidate for Lt. Gov. 
on the Democratic ticket, but was defeated. In 1861 
he was commissioned Colonel 10th Ohio Infantry. 
Was severely wounded at Carnif ax-Ferry, West 
Virginia, and was again wounded and captured at 
Perryville, Kentucky. 

Now for "reconstruction on the fields of destruc- 
tion." I set to work to rebuild my stock farm. My 
quondam slaves having gone to Middle Georgia, I 
detf rmined on a new role. I would sow wheat. 
With help if I could get it; without it, if nobody could 
be hired. 

A fellow wearing a long, blue, Yankee over- 
coat came strolUng along the public road. He 
had deserted my Company in 1863 whilst at home 

387 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

on furlough, and joined a Company of "home-made 
Yankees" from DeKalb County, Alabama. It was led 
by one Captain John Long, who pretended to be on 
scouting duty for the Federal army: but whose real 
occupation was plundering the people of Lookout 
Valley. The man in the blue overcoat stopped until 
I plowed around to the road. He said, "Howdy. 
Cap'nl I want to 'pologize for quitting you and 
the boys in old Ferginny. I hope you won't think 
hard of me?" I said, "Hawkins, the war is over; 
let it go at that. But if I had caught you during 
the war, when you and your gang were plundering 
this farm, I would have filled you full of bullets!" 
He had no reply for that remark, but asked 
"Cap'n, kain't you give a feller a job? I'll help you 
git in yer wheat." I said, "You ought not to need 
a j ob. Where's all that plunder you and your crowd 
stole, up and down this valley in '63, '64 and '65;" 
He replied, "I got a lot, but I had sich a poor chance 
to take keer of it." "Well," said I, "you've got 
a plenty of cheek. I'll hire you, give you fifty cents 
a day and your board." "All right," said he, "I'm 
ready to go to work." "Well, go to the barn, har- 
ness that pair of mules, hitch to a turning plow 
that's there, and come down here. We shall see 
who can turn the most land today." We were 
plowing near a public road; returned soldiers 
passing called out, "Hello, Colonel. Have you cap- 
tured a Yank and put him to work?" "Yes," I 
said, "but this is only half a one." I had made ar- 
rangements with Mrs. Dr. McGufTey to board me 
and my men for a short time, until my old colored 
cook, "Aunt Myra," could return from Mac'on. 
When Hawkins walked into the dining room, I saw 
there was trouble brewing. Dr. McGuffey rose from 
the table and called me out. "Colonel," he said, 
"what did you bring that fellow here for? He can't 
sit at my table! Why, his company robbed me, and 
this fellow struck liie on the head with his pistol!" 
I said, "Doc, you are a preacher — let's forgive our 

388 



LOOKOUT VALLEY 

enemies — here's a good chance to practice what you 
preach." He said, "You are right; but it is mighty 
h(ird!" 

In telling me of the different movements of his 
battalion, after I was captured, Major Nisbet said. 
"In x\pril, 1865, I was passing through Columbus, 
Georgia, from Andersonville, where I had been to 
take a batch of prisoners from luka, Mississippi. 
General Cobb stopped me to help the citizens in their 
effort to save the city from General Wilson's raid- 
ers, who were coming from Selma, Alabama. My 
battalion was posted in Girard, Alabama, across 
the Chattahoochee. We were in the center, citizens 
being on my right and left, their flanks resting on 
the river, above and below the bridge. It was night 
when Wilson came up, and charged with ten 
thousand cavalry— dismounted. We repulsed the 
charge on our front; but the citizens gave way; con- 
sequently we were surrounded, and captured. 

the next morning I awoke in the camp of the 
Yankee provost-guard. A tall cavalryman called 
out to me, "Hello, Major Nisbet!" I went over to 
the guard line, and asked, "Do you know me?" He 
answered, "Don't you remember taking a batch of 
prisoners in 1864, 'from Sherman's army to Ander- 
sonville? I was one of those fellers. We all agreed 
that you treated us well for prisoners, and now I 
am going to do what I can for you.' He went 
away, and soon returned with a good breakfast, and 
then got an old horse for me to ride the sixty sandy 
miles to Macon : where we were met by General 
Cobb, and the Mayor, under a flag of truce. They 
informed GenerarWilson of Lee's surrender, after 
wliich the Federals quietly occupied Macon." 

Major Nisbet — his health impaired by exposure 
incident to the war — served faithfully to the day of 
surrender. His men adored him: not only for his 
lenient temper, but for his big heart. As a private, 
his self-will was unruffled :— No danger of being 
cashiered! But as an officer — queerly enough — he 

26 389 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

continued to know no will but his own ! There was 
not another man in the service who would have 
dared drill his command only when he "dam- 
pleased!" 

x\t Dalton he refused to take his battalion out on 
brigade drill, because the weather was bad; said 
his men w^ere not feeling well, and he did not want 
to expose them. Our Brigade commander, General 
Stevens, a martinet, would not stand for a derelic- 
tion of duty. I feared he would prefer, charges 
against my brother for disobedience of orders. 

After the drill the old General said, "Colonel, what 
shall we do with Major Nisbet?" I said, "General, 
my brother is very obstinate; but I hope you will 
overlook his dereliction inasmuch as though his 
little old battalion is not much on the drill, they 
are always on hand when a fight comes up, and ef- 
ficient in a scrap." 

The old General thought highly of the Major. The 
campaign soon opened, and so the matter was over- 
looked. 

In one of the three companies of this battalion 
was a man of remarkable height — over seven feet. 
He attracted my attention, and I had an occasional 
word with him. 

Twenty-five years after the war, I was riding 
through Carroll County, Ga., with a lot of stock. I 
wanted to find lodgings for the night and was told 
that I could find accommodations for myself, my 
man, and stock, at a certain farmhouse. The farm- 
er's wife told me that her "old man" was away; but 
I might stop. I was invited in, and when the farmer 
came in, his wife told him a stranger had applied 
for lodgings. He came to my room to make up a 
fire. Recognizing him at once — it w^as dead easy 
to follow "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine!" — I was 
about to introduce myself, when he exclaimed: 

"You needn't tell me your name: I know you. 
Colonel Nisbet! I was a member of Captain Estes' 
Company, from this county, in Major Nisbet's Bat- 

390 



LOOKOUT VALLEY 

talion. We were halted at Columbus, Ga., to fight 
Wilson. 

"I was suffering with asthma, then, as I am doing 
now. I'll tell you a story after supper. Can't sleep 
much at night : have to sit up with the wheezes ! I'll 
be mighty glad to have an old comrade to talk 
with." 

Later in the evening the old fellow dropped into 
my room again, mended the fire, and fell to talking. 

"At Columbus, when the 26th Ga. Battalion went 
over the river, me, and another sick man, were de- 
tailed to stay in camp, guard the wagons, and cook 
for our Company. We were sitting there listening 
to the firing over the river, when he heard horse- 
men coming at a gallop — on the Columbus road. 
They stopped. One of 'em called out: 

" 'What are you doing there?' 

" 'Guarding the wagons,' I answered. 

" 'I am General Cobb,' says he ; 'Wilson's taken 
the town. You'd better get away.' 

"I said to the fellow with me: 

" 'Jolui, the jig's up! Let's make for home!' 

"I told my nigger, Ben, to come on, and I struck 
up the road leading toward home, in a run ! It was 
dark. — I forgot about my asthma! — ^We ran about 
a mile. Then, I just had to stop, to get breath! — 
We sat down on a log to rest. For the first time I 
noticed that Ben had 'straggled.' 

" 'John,' said I, 'ivhere's Ben?' 

"'Lord knows!' says he. 

" 'You reckon that black rascal's staid back yon- 
der to go off with the Yankees? Dog-goned black 
scoundrel! Deserting me! In this time of trouble! 
Why, my wife raised him like one of our own chil- 
dren.' 

"Before long we saw somebody coming up the 
road. I called out: 

" 'Who's that?' The fellow answered: 

"Is that you. Master?" 

391 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

" 'Well, if it ain't Ben!' said I. 'Ben, what's that 
you got?' 

" 'Hit's er two-gallon coffee-pot full er that-thero 
fine old apple-brandy,' says Ben. 'Did n' wanter 
leave dat whole barrel fer dem Yankees! Gord 
knows hit wuz bad 'nulT fer 'em ter git de town — 
en de wagons — en de mules! I 'lowed yer mout 
need some de liquor fer yer cough, Marster.' 

" 'Blamed if that nigger ain't got more sense to- 
night than both of us,' says John. 'Knew your 
black hide would protect you from Yankee bullets, 
didn't you, Ben? Gimme your coffee-pot!' 

"I'll tell you, Colonel, if there ever was a God- 
send in the shape of a coffee-pot — that was the time- 
We had to 'hoof-it' home. We were sick and dis- 
heartened. The apple-jack saved our lives." 

During the winter of 1866 Georgia held an elec- 
tion for Governor and members of the Legislature, 
in accordance with President Johnson's Proclama- 
tion. Judge Charles J. Jenkins of Augusta, a very 
able jurist and conservative man, was elected Gov- 
ernor: with a Democratic Legislature. They as- 
sembled at Milledgeville, and ratified the 13th 
Amendment. 

Other Southern States also ratified the Amend- 
ment. The requisite endorsement — three-fourths of 
the States — was secured through the action of the 
Cotton States. This was how the 13th Amendment 
was made a part of the Constitution And this 
"patch" on the seat of the old Constitution set the 
negro free. 

Many slave-holders in certain of the States had 
espoused the Union cause. Some of these had 
fought in the Federal ranks So, upon the adoption 
of the 13th Amendment — abolishing slavery, but 
making no provision to pay for the slaves! — these 
union men "kicked like a bay steer!" In Virginia, 
Kentucky, Missouri, West Virginia and many of the 
Northern States the 13th Amendment was defeated. 

392 



LOOKOUT VALLEY 

But for the action of the Cotton States— IT WOULD 
HAVE BEEN LOST. 

During the winters of '65 and '66, business in 
the South crawled up. The railroads were being 
re-built. The negroes, after loafing around and liv- 
ing on Government rations, when the rations were 
discontinued, found themselves, for the first time, 
staggering under "The White Man's Burden" — To- 
morrow! Where was subsistence to come from? 

Where were the " 'later patches" and the corn- 
cribs of yesterday? The smoke-house — the or- 
chards — and the buttermilk jug in the spring? 

"The Man with the Hoe" admitted: "Ain' stud'n 
Freedom. Stud'n bread n' meat!" 

The blacks made contracts to work the planta- 
tions on shares, or for wages. Cotton commanded 
a topping price. Labor was in demand. Wages 
were high. Good things for the South were in 
sight. Exactly what the dominant party at Wash- 
ington didn't want to see! A horde of useless, spine- 
less, jobless fellows^ — ecclesiastics and politicians — 
all understudies to the devil! — -had to be provided 
for by the daddies of the G. 0. P. Negro-lovers and 
fanatics had claims on the Republican Party. Un- 
der the flim-flam of their pious cares for the "nee- 
gro." this mob might "get what was left" at th-; 
South ! 

And the black goops needed somebody to vote 
'etti right! 

Moreover, down there in Georgia, where one- 
armed and one-legged men were "dropping corn," 
it would be easy to "cross-lift 'em!" 

The Southern States had gone Democratic. Many 
of the Northern States were doubtful. This was 
unpromising! The solution was to declare the 
Southern States still in a state of Rebellion! 

The majority in Congress pulled off the new 
stunt — the first Reconstruction Act: — March 2nd, 
1867. Another followed, March 23rd, 1867. An- 
other yet, July 19th. Congress was prolific as an 

393 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

old turtle. But Lord! How the whole hatch 
"smelled to Heaven!" 

The Act of July 19th prescribed an "Iron-Glad 
Oath" to be administered before any man be allowed 
to vote, or hold office. 

He who could not swTar that he had "never given 
aid or comfort, in any way, to those engaged in re- 
bellion" was disfranchised! 

Devoted Union men at the South could not take 
this oath. Everywhere Unionists had fed the hun- 
gry and succored the distressed. Judge Rives of 
Virginia, conspicuous loyalist, and father of Amelie 
Rives, the author, could not accept the Judgeship. 
He had allowed his young son, about to join the 
Confederate Army, to take a horse from the stables I 

Under the provisions of this diabolical Instru- 
ment, any negro might vote, or hold office ! — But no 
white man who had ever held civil office! Even a 
Justice of the Peace, was disbarred. 

Americans, — the very "seed-corn" of future ar- 
mies, and future Presidents! — were to be reduped 
to the condition of 

"Feeble folk; without the law!" 

President Johnson vetoed all the Reconstruction 
Bills. The Radical majority promptly passed the 
bills over his veto. One of Johnson's veto messages 
declared: "National policies are in a strange tran- 
sition state. By a singular abandonment of all 
past professions, the Republican majority in hold- 
ing that States lately in rebellion must be treated as 
conquered territory: embracing the theory which 
was high treason in 1865, that the Union could be 
dissolved." 

Governor Jenkins, of Georgia, was removed from 
office. Maj.-Gen. Meade was placed in command 
of the middle Dept. with headquarters at Atlanta. 
Jenkins surrendered his office — but not the Great 
Seal of Georgia. No threats could induce him to 

394 



LOOKOUT VALLEY 

give it up! It never came to light, until the clean- 
handed, fearless old Georgian "Rendered unto Cae- 
sar the things that were Cesar's".: the Great Seal 
of the State he committed to Georgians! 

The miseries of military rule were not "rubbed 
in" by Meade. The Freedman's Bureau had to be 
sustained: the election of '68 was held under bay- 
onets. But there was little friction in Georgia. The 
three days' election went off quietly enough. The 
fact is, the subordination of the military to the civil 
power being bred in the bone of soldiers — Regulars, 
Volunteers, Militia,. — they are the most loyal citi- 
zens of our Republic, 

If there was one feature of the Reconstruction 
Acts more hateful to the South than any of the rest 
it was "The Freedman's Bureau," — presided over 
by Maj.-Gen. Howard. A good soldier, the man was 
such a negro-lover, that the ability to do justice to 
a white man was not in him. 



XXXIV. 

RECONSTRUCTION. 

On the 31st Jan., '65, Congress, by a two-thirds 
majority, passed a bill known as the "13th Amend- 
ment," abolishing slavery. Several of the Northern 
States had rejected it. The votes of the Southern 
States were necessary to ratify it. President John- 
son appointed Provisional Governors for these 
States, who ordered elections for the Legislatures in 
the various States. That autumn the convening 
Legislatures ratified the 13th Amendment. By Dec. 
18th, 1865, three-fourths of the States had so acted; 
and on that day the Amendment aforesaid was pro- 
claimed as an integral part of the Constitution. 

395 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

But the Southern Legislatures did more. They 
passed Vagrant Acts, to compel the hordes of idle 
negroes to go to work; thereby rendering roads and 
streets safe. By enactment, vagrants refusing to re- 
turn to work, were to be bound out to compulsory 
labor. There was nothing unprecedented, even un 
usual, in such vagrant acts. The greater part of 
them are parallel to the acts controlling labor and 
vagrancy as they appear on the statute-books of 
many of the New England States. Whatever their 
justification, the dominant party were "hot in the 
hive." The Southern Legislatures were undoing 
the work of Emancipation! 

In Feb., 1866, Congress passed a bill continuing 
the Freedman's Bureau indefinitely: with largely 
increased powers. An attempt to pass this bill over 
the President's veto failed. In April, 1866, the Civil 
Rights Bill became a law. But uncertain of their 
Constitutional grounds, the party in power drafted 
the 14th Amendment; containing the principle — so- 
called — of the Civil Rights Act. If unaccepted by 
any Southern State, re-admission to representation 
would be denied such State or States. In New Or- 
leans, two days after Congress adjourned (July 
30th, 1866) a Constitutional Convention composed of 
negroes and their white partisan allies, was broken 
up by a mob; with violence and bloodshed. In Oct, 
the Southern States rejected the 14th Amendment. 
The ensuing Congress, March 4th, 1867, passed a Re- 
construction Act which was as radical as it could 
be made. The Southern States were organized into 
five military Dist.'s, with a General of the army at 
the head of each. Grant was invested with powers 
making him, and the army, practically independent 
of the President. Thus the troubled political years 
sped uneasily upon every hand. 

On the 7th Dec, 1868, the Fortieth Congress 
assembled. President Johnston forwarded to 
them his final Annual Message. He advised the 
repeal of the Reconstruction Acts, and other un- 

396 



RECONSTRUCTION 

lawful Acts. He declared that "the attempt to 
place the white population under the domina- 
tion of persons of color in the South, had im- 
paired if not destroyed the kindly relations 
which had previously existed between them, and 
that mutual distrust had engendered a feeling 
of animosity : that great wrong was still 
being done some of the Southern States, in that 
they were yet denied representation in the National 
Congress; notwithstanding that said States had 
conformed to all the requirements of the Constitu- 
tion and Laws of the United States." 

On December 25th Andrew Johnson issued his 
Amnesty Proclamation: which included everybody 
except Jefferson Davis. A petition, signed by ten 
thousand Baltimore women, begging that Davis be 
included in the General Amnesty, met with John- 
son's refusal. 

In 1868 came an order from Washington direct- 
ing that an election for Governor and a Legislaturi; 
be held in Georgia. The Presidential contest be- 
tween Grant and Horatio Seymour was on. 

The South had been prepossessed in Grant's favor 
until he sided with her enemies, the Rodicol px- 
tremists. When Grant, the RepulSlican nominee, 
and Seymour, the Democratic nominee, went to the 
country on the question of Reconstruction, it was 
inevitable that the Southern States should vote aa 
they did. 

Grant w^as elected; but a significant feature of tb*:* 
election was the fact that in a total popular vote of 
more than 5,700,000, Grant's majority was but little 
more than 300,000. Horatio Seymour had carried 
New York and New Jersey. The Radicals perceived 
what this meant. To quote from Woodrow Wilson : 
"It was seen that a slight shifting of opinion ou 
Reconstruction at the North, was liable to be the 
undoing of the dominant party. So they were de- 
termined the more to put the white South under the 
heels of the black South; thereby fixing securely 

397 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

ih.'ir tenure of office. They had not stopped to spec- 
ulate what the efTects would be. They had prepared 
the way for the ruin of the South. But they had 
hardly planned wisely." 

In our Georgia County, Dade, the election, held 
at the county site, continued three days and was 
held under the auspices of an agent of the Freed- 
man's Bureau and a squad of three soldiers. Sey- 
mour received all the votes Dade cast for the Presi- 
dency except two : a Scotchman from Penn. voted 
for Grant, and one other vote was cast for him. 
Who it was that gave Grant a pair of votes — Well, 
to this day the identity of the shame-faced fellow 
is unknown. 

I received most of the votes cast for the Georgia 
House of Representatives. There were about twenty 
negro votes : all for the Democratic tickets save one. 
Willis Stephens voted for his old master, Gallatin 
Stephens, my Republican opponent. 

Russ Taylor, an ex-Confederate, and as spirited as 
he was brave, entertained at his house during the 
three days of the election, the F. B. Agent and the 
aforesaid three soldiers. Never before had that 
quartette been so royally entertained. Wherefore, 
they absented themselves from the polls! Dade 
knew how to meet Reconstruction! — as well as 
war. 

Milledgeville was the capital of Georgia, but we 
were ordered by our Military Boss, General Meade, 
commanding the Dep't, to meet in Atlanta. In ac- 
cordance with the military order, those who had 
never taken an oath to support the Constitution of 
the United States were sworn in as members of the 
Georgia Legislature. Enough Democrats were re- 
jected, and their Republican opponents sworn in, to 
give the Republicans a majority in the House and 
Senate. This majority consisted of about seventy- 
five negroes in the House, and five in the Senate. 
The rest were "carpet-baggers" who had been con- 
nected with the Freedman's Bureau; and native 



RECONSTRUCTION 

"skallawags," as Georgians professing to be Repub- 
licans were called. 

General Jno. B. Gordon had been elected by a 
large majority, on the face of the returns; but his 
opponent, Rufus B. Bullock, of Albion, New York. 
Agent of the Southern Express Company at Au; 
gusta, Ga., was declared elected: and was sworn in 
Governor of Georgia, by order of Gen, Meade, 

Our State had passed through turmoils of Civil 
War and political strife, protracted for seven years. 
I held that the best interests of the State would be 
subserved by a conservative course. It developed 
that a majority of the Democratic members of the 
Legislature were of this opinion. When we held 
a caucus to fix upon the policy to be pursued, two 
cardinal points were agreed upon: First, to get rid 
of Reconstruction: — thereby resuming our proper 
status in the Union — next, to place able representa- 
tives in Congress, Such old-fashioned. Simon-pure 
Union men as Benj, H. Hill, of Georgia, and Zeb 
Vance, of North Carolina. How these two "proved 
out" when we did get 'em face to face with the 
traducers and persecutors of the South — How Blaine 
quaked and shrivelled, and went dumb, in the lime- 
light of Ben Hill's evidence! — why, that's another 
story. And a better one than the raciest after-din- 
ner story you ever heard. To pick up the trail : We 
set about ridding ourselves of the abominable 
Freedman's Bureau and the noisome carpet-bagger. 
At first the Georgia Legislature rejected the 14th 
Amendment, Not because it gave the negro Civil 
Rights. Georgia had already passed a b«ll giving 
the negro absolute equal civil rights, in language 
almost precisely the same as that adopted by Con- 
gress, The truth is this : The 14th Amendment was 
rejected by all the Southern States because its fourth 
clause disfranchised the most intelligent and trust- 
worthy white men of each State, In other words, 
some two hundred thousand of the best citizens of 
the South could never be chosen to hold any office 

399 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

whatever: State or Federal. Southern leaders had 
done only what the people requested them to do 
To require us to dishonor our agents, was to require 
the Southern people to dishonor themselves. 

The price of the policy to which these amend- 
ments gave the final touch of permanence was th'? 
temporary disintegration of Southern society. "Buf 
men whom experience had chastened saw that only 
the slow processes of opinion could mend the unut- 
terable errors of a time like that. It was no time in 
which to defy Northern opinion and strengthen th3 
hands of Congress by resistance." 

There were others "to whom counsels seemed as 
ineffectual as they were unpalatable: men who 
could not sit still and suffer what was now put 
upon them." 

The South knew the dominant party at Washing- 
ton: but that party did not know the spirit of the 
region with which it had to do. 

The Republicans had a majority — as counted in 
— in both houses, as has been stated. It was known 
that the carpet-bag members , backed by eighty 
negro votes, were mad to get their fingers into the 
State Treasury. I am sorry to add that a good many 
native Georgians who claimed to be Republicans 
stood around the Legislative halls ready to aid in 
all thievish schemes. To the hinderance of our con- 
servative plans, we had a minority of Democrats 
who insisted on fighting the war over, and refused 
to accept the situation. Many of these had stayed 
at home during the conflict, to look after planta- 
tions, being exempt from conscription under the 
"Twenty-negro clause," and now they had just put 
on their "war paint." We veterans, after four years 
of fighting, were not now so mad as these non-com- 
batants. 

The Legislature was required to adopt, first, the 
14th, then the 15th Amendments to the Constitution, 
as a condition of the State's re-incorporation into 
the Union, and Representation in Congress. Enough 

400 



RECONSTRUCTION 

Democrats finally voted with the Republicans to rat- 
ify the amendments; but no conservative Democrat 
believed in unqualified negro suffrage. It was a se- 
vere ordeal we were forced to undergo. It was one 
more test of our fidelity to old Georgia! Like St. 
Paul, "we suiTered fools gladly;" — that good might 
accrue to the State. And like Lord Byron, we held 
that "Time, at last, makes all things even." Nor 
were we in the wrong. 

Our attitude presently caused the negroes to look 
upon the conservative Democrats as their friends. 
This advantage was clinched by the pledge of our 
party to give them a liberal free-school bill : on con- 
dition that the negroes assisted us to defeat certain 
bills of the carpet-baggers; principally bills calling 
for large issues of State bonds for new railroads. 
State aid to railroads — projected railroads — had 
bpcn adopted in the Republican caucus, and made a 
party policy. 

The negroes voting off with us, on these issues, 
made certain of the Republicans mad; especially the 
white native Republicans from the freestone coun- 
ties of Northeast Georgia. 

Result: The ultra Democrats formed a coalition 
with these Republicans and offered a resolution de- 
claring the negro members ineligible. 

We moved to "indefinitely postpone," which was 
defeated. We argued that such action would delay 
our progress, that the negro members would be re- 
seated by the Radical Congress. 

However, the resolution ousting the negro mem- 
bers was adopted, and the negroes' seats declared 
vacant. 

H. M. Turner, one of the colored members of the 
House from BilDb County, made a forceful speech 
before his race retired, in which he predicted their 
early return to their seats. 

It eventuated in Georgia being put back under 
stricter military rule. The negroes were reseated 
by the military. General Meade was ordered by the 

401 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Secretary of War to take charge of the Georgia 
Legislature; as a "rebellious body," defying the laws 
of the United States ; to reinstate the negro members 
and to reorganize the House of Representatives. 

His soldiers were marched into the state capitol, 
turned the speaker of the House out of office and 
installed a man named Harris, an employe (Pore- 
man) of the State Railroad, Speaker. We called him 
"Fatty Harris." He looked like a Falstaff. He as- 
sumed the gavel and called the House to order. 

On the roll being called, the negro members an- 
swered to their names and Harris declared the House 
duly organized and ready for business. 

The military were withdrawn, and the routine 
of the Legislature proceeded as before. The ae- 
groes, however, were frightened, and were in a 
plastic mond for treating with us. We were not 
slow to avail ourselves of this chance to get a ma- 
jority to defeat the Carpet-bagger's bills. 

The efforts of those fellows at Washington in se- 
curing an order to reinstate the negroes was the 
carpet-baggers' undoing. They were hoisted by 
their own petard. One very remarkable fact should 
be set down. It was this: The new-made citizen 
(negroes) showed the utmost deference for the 
scions of the old slaveholding stock. On the other 
hand, they everywhere treated their new allies, the 
Carpet-baggers and the skally-wags, with derision 
and contempt. The worst bills were defeated and 
others hedged around by cautious amendments. 
Thus by prudence and moderation Georgia was 
saved from great pecuniary losses and her credit 
maintained. 

The next session "Fatty Harris" lost his job as 
"law boss" and we put the Hon. Robt. McWhorter 
back as Speaker of the House. Fatty said that he 
was glad to retire, that he had rather'boss his gang 
of "section hands," that "we made his life unbeara- 
ble." He went up to Chattanooga and built the firs': 

402 



RECONSTRUCTION 

street railroad line (mules) from the A. G. S. Pas- 
senger Station down Market street to the river. 

Atlanta was arising from her ashes. How it was 
that great blocks of brick buildings sprung up in 
this era of poverty, no one could explain. It was 
whispered that "blockade cotton-money" from Liv- 
erpool — belonging to the state— hsid been divprted to 
pay for on*^ fine building on Broad Street, near the 
bridge. More money from dubious sources went 
into the purchase of some lots and buildings front- 
ing on Pryor, Wall, Decatur and Lloyd streets: a 
bpquest of one Mitchell to the city of Atlanta: to be 
used as a park. The city realized no benefit from 
the transaction, other than taxable property. The 
money for the park, a small amount, went to some 
fictitious heirs trumped-up to fill that role. Nor is 
it any secrpt that the Kimball House was built from 
the procepds of the sale of Brunswick and Albany 
Railroad bonds, illegally signed and sold to Henry 
Clews and Go. at a very low price. 

The Act authorizing the endorsement of the B. & 
A. Railroad bonds by the State, provided: That 
when tvv^enty miles of said road had been completed, 
the Governor might endorse the bonds of the road 
to the amount of tiventy thousand dollars per mile 
for each twenty miles completed, equipped, and re- 
ceived by the State Civil Engineer: and that said 
bonds be countersigned by the State Treasurer. 

Dr. Angier of Atlanta was then State Treasu^-er 
He was more. He was a Republican, and — an an- 
omaly for those times! — he was an honest Republi- 
can. He refused to sign the bonds, because "no part 
of the Railroad had been completed and received 
by the State Engineer, according to the Act. Nor 
even the right-of-way cut off. Dr. Angier went 
North to protest in Wall street offices and through 
the press against the validity of the bonds. He de- 
clared that" his signature had been Uthographed, 
and placed upon the bonds without authority. To 
this old Roman, an example of honesty in publij 

403 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

office, the State of Georgia should erect a fitting 
monument. 

The next Legislature refused to recognize thi' 
bonds as a valid claim against the State. The mat- 
ter came up before successive Legislatures, through 
the efforts of lobbyists, until 1877. Then the Con- 
stitutional Convention put a final quietus to the 
claim. 

The upheaval of social conditions after the war 
threw to the surface, and brought under the eye, 
many motley characters. Here were the "hill-bil- 
lies" — illiterate native Georgians. When the con- 
script act called on them to fight for the State, they 
"hid out." When pursued or arrested, they were 
bitter; "agin' Secession what fotch on the War" 
After the surrender, they were ".agin thur Dimmer- 
crats" and herded with the Republicans. Here were 
"Yarb doctors," and 'horse doctors," and "well dig- 
gers," mysterious masters of the yokel's divining- 
rod, the "forked hazel switch" which betrays those 
underground treasures, water and mineral veins. 
And from many a "knob" came the traveling 
preacher, "the Prophet of the mountains," who dis- 
pensed with the Gospel "as the good Lord would 
direct him to the texf from "anywhurs betwix the 
leds of the Book." 

And fellows such as these were sent to Atlanta to 
represent certain Georgia Counties! They were 
known as scallawags. After joining with the ne- 
groes and carpet-baggers in voting that they should 
receive nine dollars per day and ten cents per mile 
"each w^ay" over the route to Atlanta, they arrived 
in that city in covered wagons containing their in- 
teresting families — each family, had it come to a 
show-down, could have crowded old Peter the 
Great's record for children! — as Garlyle gives it. 
The wagon-train of wild and wooly crackers en- 
camped "near the Marietta road. Oh, bulliest pic- 
ture in the Book of Time! Could anything equal 
it? A concourse of crackers; horse-trading, cook- 

404 



RECONSTRUCTION 

ing, sawing on old fiddles ! — the nascent Solons were 
on in this act, — to the tune of "Billy in the Low- 
grounds." It was more like a gypsy camp than 
anything else. 

Standing out in hideous prominence as the worst 
product of that period of perfidious things was 
"the Secession-scallawag." 

Referring to one of these men, often honored by 
Georgia, General Howell Cobb in his great "Bush- 
Arbor" speech delivered in Atlanta July 4th, 1868, 
applies this epigram: "Base, ignoble wretch! He 
only rises as he rots : and rots as he rises !" 

The fight we made defeated much nefarious legis- 
lation: and resulted in solidifying the whites: a 
solidity which finally rescued the State from the con- 
trol of alien enemies: — an example afterward fol- 
lowed by all the other Southern States. 

Georgia forged ahead of her sister States finan- 
cially, and gained a lead she has maintained to this 
day. Though in the minority, the Democrats had 
brains and legislative experience. Aided by Howell 
Cobb, Robert Toombs, Eugenius A. Nisbet, Ghas. J. 
Jenkins, Benj. H. Hill, Alexander H. Stephens, Her- 
schel V, Johnson and other able patriots, the State 
was redeemed; and saved from utter bankruptcy. 

In this work we were sustained by a new and 
hitherto undreamed-of ally. We had at our com- 
maid forces as potent as they were mysterious. 



XXXV. 

"THE KU-KLUX-KLAN." 

In its inception this Organization was a practical 
joke. It had its origin in the minds of some mis- 
chievous young fellows bent on amusing them- 
selves at the expense of the superstitious negroes. 

27 405 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Queer pranks were played in the night. A White 
Clan, disguised in the habiliments of the grave, their 
horses shrouded in white, rode the highways at mid- 
night. This ghostly Company surprised parties of 
negroes at night, on dark roads, and terrified them.- 
To add to the horror of this spectacle, a hollow 
voice would issue from one of the sheeted ghosts, 
and no uncertain words : "We are just from Hell. 
We afe thirsty. Water! Quick!'" 

There was no delay about that bucket of water. 
When delivered to the ghost, he lifted the bucket to 
his mouth and poured the contents into a rubber 
bag worn under his shroud. This performance 
each member of the Company went through with in 
turn, as fast as the negroes could draw the water. 
Bucket after bucket, gallon after gallon, would be 
drawn from the well and gulped down: until the 
well was dry! Th? Apparitions, after leaving their 
orders, disappeared as mysteriously as they came. 

These same mandates became, at length, as abso- 
lute and full of terrible significance as the ancient 
Venetian Council. When it was apparent that a 
powerful effect had been produced, not only upon 
the negroes, but upon the carpet-baggers, as well, 
the idea put on armor. Here was a weapon! A 
ghostly force might avail against the abominations 
and abuses of "Reconstruction." It was not the in- 
spiration of one mind. It was the law of self-pro- 
tection dramatized. It was Right riding forth as a 
White Spectacle under the midnight stars. As if 
by magic similar bands appeared all over the South : 
evolved by the exigencies of the times. The move- 
ment developed into an Invisible Empire. It became 
a momentous thing. 

To certain Northern people it seemed to nullify 
the results of the war. To minds equally honest, it 
was a secret revolt against tyranny. A revolt as 
justifiable as Stein's against the French in 1806-14; 
which resulted in driving the French out of Ham- 
burg — and Germany. 

406 



KU-KLUX-KLAN 

The Southern armies had been disbanded. Whei 
it became all too evident that the Northern radicals, 
through hate and greed, would wrest from us our 
fair land, the Ku-Klux-Klan got busy. The Invisi- 
ble Empire became a real Empire. It was the mo- 
ment of extremity! It was the final effort of the 
Anglo-Saxon of the South to preserve his civiliza- 
tion and his patrimony. And the carpet-baggers, 
unable to discover the terrible, supernatural foe, 
folded their tents like the Arabs — or their carpet- 
bags — and as quietly stole away. 

With the exodus of these political vagrants, and 
dangerous malcontents, the ends of the Ku-Klux- 
Klan were an accomplished fact. They were for- 
mally disbanded by an order issued at Memphis, by 
the Grand Wizard. 

As is always the case where the law is usurped 
by irresponsible parties, and deeds of violence com- 
mitted with impunity under oath of secrecy, a few 
men continued their lawlessness after the Grand 
Wizard had dissolved the Klan. There was no rea- 
son for its continuance. The Carpet-baggers were 
gone. The negroes had resumed their normal atti- 
tude toward the whites. But some youngsters who 
still had the "habiliments" wanted amusement; cas- 
ual ghosts still galloped over the roads; and noc- 
turnal tragedies continued to occur. Congress 
passed an Act in 1870 making it "a criminal of- 
fense to go upon the highways in disguise." April 
20th, 1871, a still more drastic act was passed, to 
suppress the Ku-Klux-Klan. Its. provisions made 
the survival of the Ku-Klux-Klan business, treason 
against the United States: and the President was 
authorized to use the army and navy in the work of 
suppression: — as against an insurrection and to 
suspend Habeas Corpus, if need be. Grant singled 
out nine counties in South Carolina, where he called 
upon the K-K-K's to surrender their arms in five 
days. No Klan then existed. Therefore no arras 
were surrendered. Whereupon Grant caused two 

407 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

hundred prominent citizens to be arrested, and con- 
victed by U. S. Court. They were finally released, 
on some terms or other. 

Though no serious attempt was made to probe 
the underlying cause for the so-called "conspiracy" 
and "chronic disorder" of which the Southern States 
stood accused, there was much noise over the acts 
of this unknown organization: an impalpable body 
with sleepless energies. 

The operations of the Ku-Klux-Klan had created 
consternation in the councils of the Radical major- 
ity in Congress. A committee was appointed to in- 
vestigate with plenary power to travel at will and 
summon witnesses. Assisted by the army, they 
traveled all over the South, taking evidence. Their 
reports to Congress fill thirteen large volumes, 
which are a mass of ghost stories and other irre- 
sponsible testimony of the negroes and Carpet-bag- 
gers. In truth, nothing reliable was developed that 
had not been mentioned by the daily newspapers. 

Dr. W. E. Thompson, the eloquent pastor of Cen- 
tenary church, Chattanooga, in a beautiful address 
on the occasion of "Decoration Day" at Lafayette, 
Georgia, June 3rd, 1911, said: "After years of deso- 
lation and heaps of slain, the colors that called out 
a wild homage from everywhere were trailed in the 
dust. The dead outnumbered the victims of any 
modern war. The first born of uncounted homes 
were dead upon the battlefield. Blackened ruins 
marked the sites of homesteads. Poverty was uni- 
versal. Then an alien race, some of whose ances- 
tors within a century were cannibals, were given 
leadership over Anglo-Saxon refinement. The 
Recording Angel only, can report the broken hearts, 
and mute anguish, from the Delaware to the Rio 
Grande. Men cannot put it into any form of speech. 
The Ku-Klux-Klan was the salvation of the South 
during the days of reconstruction. Were it in my 
power, I would erect a monument to the Ku-Klux- 
Klans that would pierce the blue vaults of heaven." 

408 



KU-KLUX-KLAN 

In these words Dr. Thompson holds up the torch 
of truth before a scene "Black as the Pit, from pole 
to pole." 

No man has ever described the situation with such 
clarity and fideUty. His words should be recorded 
on bronze and marble; to the justification of His- 
tory. 

the Southern Soldier lost no whit of his gallantry 
in defeat: nor under the yoke of tyrannous Recon- 
struction. He spoke for himself. 

"In the fell clutch of Circumstance 
I have not winced, nor cried aloud: 

Under the bludbeonings of Chance, 
My head is bloody — but unbowed!" 

In those dark days of "Reconstruction," why dirl 
the South struggle against hope? " 'Twas the in- 
stinct of life, the love of that miserable gift which 
misfortune had left us. We bethought us of the 
morrow, and it was well." 



XXXVI. 

PHILANTHROPY'S CLOVEN FOOT. 

Under the Reconstruction Act hordes of broken- 
down preachers and politcal adventurers received 
appointments. Never "since King Jamie crossed the 
Tweed, with the hungry Scotch nation at his heels," 
has the like been seen. They apeared in nearly 
every county; and issued "Pronunciamentos" — a la 
Central America. All contracts with "freedmen" 
had to be approved by them; all issues where "a 
freedman" was a party had to be tried before them. 
Their decisions were final. There was no appeal. 
All elections were held under their management. 

409 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Numbers of whites had been disfranchised. The ne 
groes were marched up to the polls in droves, and 
given tickets. As the beneficiaries of such paternal 
care, the negroes "piled up" to vote the Republican 
ticket. 

Such loyalty to the Republican Party, called forth 
"the Philanthropy of Christian men and women!" 
So soon as the industrious and thrifty darkies begun 
to deposit their savings in local banks, the Philan- 
thropists got busy. "Those ex-slave holders won't 
do to trust! We will open a bank, in connection 
with the Freedman's Bureau, to keep the Freedman's 
money safe!" 

A bank was chartered by Congress — Headquarters 
at Washington, D. C. (with branches), "The Freed 
man's Bank." It was important to teach the freed- 
men responsibility and economy! They must be 
afforded a safe place of deposit for their slender 
savings! "The Christian Soldier of the U. S. Army" 
was selected to keep the deposits. As President of 
the Freedman's Bank, he did keep them! — so se- 
curely that the unhappy depositors of two million 
dollars never saw their money again. 

The depositors — "with their experience sticking 
to 'em," as Mr. Kipling would sa,y — abandoned thrift 
and economy, for good and all. 

General E. R. Canby was a victim of pious sharp- 
ers. It is thought he received no pecuniary advan- 
tage from the alleged failure of the Bank. He was 
about his military duties in the West, and did not 
know what was going on in the Central Bank at 
Washington. It was thought at the time that those 
sympathetic friends of the negro, the bank direct- 
ors, divided the assets among themselves. The 
transactions besmirched the name of Canby. A 
brave soldier was lamented when Canby met his 
fate at the hands of the treacherous Nez Perce^. 
Albeit there was a venomous summary of the scan- 
dal and the man, in print : "The professed strategy, 
the skillful tactics, the ready valor, that had extin- 

410 



PHILANTHROPY'S CLOVEN FOOT 

gu\shed bank balances — all failed against this wily 
foe, "The Indian!" 

Under the Reconstruction Acts the Civil courts 
were entirely suspended; but after a time certain 
men, so-called Republicans, were appointed Judges 
of the Superior Courts. The Reconstruction period 
lasted about seven years, and was a deadly incu- 
bus. Business was retarded, and the up-building 
of the South set back. 

The party in power had made the white men of 
the South their implacable enemies. They were not 
enemies of the Union, but of the Republican party. 
These Reconstruction measures had wrought evils 
incomparably harder to undo than the havoc of the 
Civil War. 

The Hon. Benj. H. Hill of Georgia in a speech on 
Reconstruction (while it was busy as the guillotine 
in the Reconstruction days of France) said: "It is 
the torch of the incendiary; the knife of the assas- 
sin; the firearm of the bandit; — sending death- 
blows to the life of the State, to the heart of Soci- 
ety and to the hope of civilization: that ignorance 
and vice may be exalted, and intelligence and virtue 
may be degraded." 

Mr. Lincoln's Proclamation of Dec, 1863, treated 
Secession as a rebellion of individuals, not of States. 
He said: "We all agree that the seceded States are 
out of their practical relation with the Union; and 
our sole object is to restore that relation. I believe 
it is easier to do this without deciding or even con- 
sidering whether these States have been out of the 
Union than with it. Finding themselves safely at 
home, it would be utterly immaterial whether they 
had ever been abroad." 

In opposing Johnson's policy, the dominant party 
in Congress refused to acquiesce in Mr. Lincoln's 
plan of pacification. As W^oodrow Wilson observes : 
"The solemn, mild, tempered sentences with which 
Lincoln's second Inaugural had closed, seemed 
themselves of bad omen to these radical men." 

4.11 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

"With malice toward none: with charity to all: 
with firmness in the right, as God has given us to 
see the right, let us strive to fmish the work we are 
in: to bind up the nation's wounds, to do all which 
may achieve and cherish a lasting peace among 
ourselves." This foreshadowed too much leniency 
toward Southern people, to suit violent parti- 
sans. Opposition gathered head against Lincoln 
which it seems likely he could not have overcome." 

President Johnson retained Mr, Lincoln's Cabinet 
unchanged. He held on to the plans Mr. Lincoln 
had made. For this he was made to feel the venom 
of Stanton's and Thad. Stevens' hatred and malig- 
nancy. It is true that Johnson invited the opposi- 
tion of Stevens, Stanton, and men like them. He 
played into their hands. On his junketings, his 
speeches were full of unconsidered, abusive and vio- 
lent denunciations. 

The Secretary of War (Stanton) was antagonizing 
Johnson's policies toward the South. Johnson re- 
moved him and appointed U. S. Grant, Sec. of War. 
In order to embarrass the President and placate the 
extremist, Grant resigned. Stanton was reappointed. 
Stanton's antagonism waxed. For the second time 
Johnson dismissed him. Impeachment proceedings 
followed. In the meantime Johnson had appointed 
Major General Jno. M. Schofield acting Sec. of War, 
June, 1868. 

Ross, the Kansas Senator who, for conscientious 
reasons, voted against the impeachment of Andrew 
Johnson, was denounced and pilloried by his con- 
stituents — punished politcally, socially and finan- 
cially. Yet, was he right. Today, a majority of the 
people of Kansas admit that Ross was right. 

Upon the failure of the impeachment bill — for 
want of a two-third majority — Schofleld's appoint- 
ment was confirmed by the Senate, and he held the 
portfolio until after Grant's inauguration: — March 
4th, 1869. Promptly enough. Congress passed a law 
prohibiting any army officer from holding any civil 

412 



PHILANTHROPY'S CLOVEN FOOT 

office. In '95 this statute was modified: army and 
navy officers on the retired list are not now under 
this inhibition. 

If conditions were bad in Georgia, they were 
worse in tlie otlier Southern States : more especially 
in Tennessee, where Parson Wm. G. Brownlow as 
Governor, backed up by a bitter partisan Legisla- 
ture, was carrying on a "Reign of Terror." Nearly 
all of the best men of the State were disfranchised. 
Thousands of enterprising citizens were driven 
from their homes; particularly in East Tenessee. 
Suits were brought against their real estate for so- 
called damages or for constructive damages. Such 
men as Jim English, Lowery, the Inmans and others 
went to Atlanta; to become important factors in the 
rebuilding of that city. And thousands of others, 
"driven out by the hornet," left their homes for va- 
rious cities or the untried West. The political vio- 
lence which caused this loss to East Tennesse, had 
its counterpart in the fanaticism of the Spaniards 
when that country expelled the Moors and Sephar- 
dim; — the highly cultivated Jews. The fanaticism 
of France had its out-put: labelled "The Revocation 
of the Edict of Nantes." 

Spain has never recovered the glorious position 
she occupied under Ferdinand and Isabella. France, 
by the loss of her Huguenot population, was badly 
crippled. 

In Tennessee, Brownlow's political friends were 
encouraged by him to commit every sort of violence 
against ex-Confederates. There was no redress. The 
courts were Brownlow's creatures. It was his pol- 
icy to drive out of the State all men of prominence 
woh differed with him politically, that he might 
make a meal of the State without interruption. In 
Chattanooga strange sights were to be seen. Item: 
Whites and negroes associating on the footing 
of equals! In those dire days Chattanooga was the 
Mecca of cranks and fanatics, men and women af- 
flicted with Negrophobia. There, the social equality 

413 



FOUR YEARS QN THE FIRING LINE 

experiment was tried out. Conditions were favor- 
able, to a degree. E. 0. Tade had charge of the af- 
fairs of the "Freedman's Bureau" in and around 
Chattanooga, Squire Jno. D. Blackford was Tade's 
friend and coadjutor; as well as dep. county clerk. 

After the passage of the Civil Rights bill, the ne- 
groes were advised that they might intermarry with 
whites: that the Civil Rights bill superseded the 
State laws against miscegenation. Tade affirmed 
that he, as a minister of the Gospel, would perform 
the ceremony of marriage and Blackford declared 
that he would issue the licenses to applicants in 
such cases. Encouraged by the advice of such fel- 
lows, several colored men procured marriage-li- 
censes and married white women. This, under the 
State law, is a felony. Tade and Blackford were in- 
dicted and convicted. Their lawyer. Judge Dan 
Trewtiitt, appealed the case, but the decision of the 
lower court was affirmed. Tade paid up his fines 
and costs and moved away. Blackford followed 
suit. In fact most of that old crowd of fanatics who 
turned Chattanooga into a "hatchery" or station for 
demonstrating the ideas from the maggotty brains 
of Garrison and other rabid South-haters, finally 
left Chattanooga, in disgust. This put a stop to mis- 
cegeiiation. Then came an abortive attempt at the 
co-education of the races. Grant University was 
built. Whites and negroes were taught in the same 
classes. Presently, the whites ceased to attend. Ne- 
gro patronage was a bone without marrow! The 
college was closed. And so ended the last effort to 
compel race affiliation in 07ie Southern city! The 
climate was unfavorable to the propogation of the 
New England microbe! 

The college, conducted strictly for white students, 
reorganized, and rechristened — "The University of 
Chattanooga" — is now in a flourishing condition: 
and bids fair to be the equal of any University in 
the South: being centrally located, richly endowed, 
with a strong faculty and backed by a progressive 
community. 

414 



XXXVII. 

LAW AND ORDER. 

After a time, in the '70's, the white people of Geor- 
gia carried the election and got control of the State. 
Whereupon, a hegira of plunderers to the North. 

The Legislature of 1876 passed an act calling for 
a Constitutional Convention. Members were elected 
and assembled at Atlanta, July, 1877. Urged to 
come out for the Secretaryship, and ambitious for 
the position, I "beat the bushes" through the State, 
and on reaching Atlanta announced for the posi- 
tion. 

The Hon. Wm. A. Harris, Sec. of the Senate, was 
a candidate. He was on the slate, — endorsed by the 
"Ring." Harris was a popular man and member 
of a strong Georgia family. He had always been 
honored with any position he sought. When the 
Convention assembled, that noble old Roman, Ex- 
Gov. Chas. J. Jenkins, who had been removed from 
the Governorship of Georgia by the last Reconstruc- 
tion Act, was unanimously chosen President, and I 
was elected Secretary, by a large majority. I es- 
teemed my election a matter of no small moment 
because it was an endorsement by a majority of the 
ablest men in the State, of my War Record and of 
my course in the Reconstruction Period. 

After the war a new constitution had been 
adopted, but the people were dissatisfied with it. 
The Georgia Constitutional Convention of 1877 is 
considered the greatest legal body that ever met in 
the State. 

415 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

The Constitution which they formulated and 
adopted, and which will be the organic law of Geor- 
gia for many, many years to come, is a model for 
all the States. General Robert Toombs was tlie mas- 
ter-mind, but there were many other distinguished 
Georgians in that body. Some of them had long 
before retired from public life — Ex-Senators, Ex- 
Governors, Ex-Members of Congress and Ex-Judges 
of the Supreme Court. Many of my war comrades 
were delegates : among them was my cousin, Colonel 
Reuben Battle Nisbet, of Putnam County. 

He was a member of the Committee of twenty-six, 
presided over by General Robert Toombs. That 
committee consisted of the Convention's wisest men. 
Their duty was to meet in the hours when the Con- 
vention was not in session, formulate sections of 
the forthcoming Constitution, and as prepared, re- 
port the same to the Convention at their morning 
session: to be discussed and acted upon by the 
Committee of the Whole. 

After being adopted by sections, then it_ was 
adopted as a whole. It was decided by majority 
vote that it was unnecessary that the Constitution 
be signed by any member or delegate save the Presi- 
dent and Secretary. 

It was a great honor to witness the signature of 
fliat distinguished and honored man, Chas. J. Jen- 
kins, and to attest a State Constitution which is the- 
Palladium of my people's rights, and which espe- 
cially guards their interests against the encroach- 
ments of public utilities and corporate greed. 

The Georgian looks upon this instrument as his 
Magna Charta, and it will doubtless stand as Geor- 
gia's organic law until another century. 

A prominent politician, clerk of the House of 
Representatives, acted as clerk in calling the Roll 
of Delegates, et cet., and was in my "combination." 
It was well known that my political friend had re- 
tired from the firing line early in the Civil War, 
and accepted a bomb-proof position. When thu 

416 



LAW AND ORDER 

Convention delegates met in the lobby-halls and sen- 
ate room, preparatory to marching in a body into 
the House of Representatives, the above-mentioned 
politician approached General Toombs, saying: 
^'General, allow me to take your arm." The old Gen- 
eral retorted: "Excuse me, sir. I will go in with 
one of 'The Old Guard!'" and turning, he offered 
his arm to me. 

After the election I met Bill Harris and Evan 
Howell in the rotunda of the Kimball House, and 
we shook hands over the result. Evan said: "Nis- 
bet, I never would have believed you, or any other 
man, could defeat Bill Harris for an office of this 
kind. How did you do it?" Whereupon Harris but- 
ted in: "Well, dam it! If I'd known Cooper Nisbet 
was in the army with half the state, and kin to the 
other half, — I'd have got busy!" 

"Boys," I returned, "the wine and cigars are on 
me." 



XXXVIII. 

THE NEGRO. 

It is the concensus of opinion that the negro was 
the irritating cause of the great conflict. Hence, 
these reminiscences would be incomplete without 
some reference to "The White Man's Burden." Not 
as a problem. Nor as a political issue. But as a 
Race: an ethnological numeral: a chattel: a freed- 
man: a wage-earner: an integral part of the com- 
munity. Above all, as a "potwalloper." 

In certain English boroughs every one who boiled 
-a pot was entitled to vote. He was "a potwalloper." 
Our "potwallopers," however, put a negro construc- 
tion on old English law! He who votes will be able 
"to boil the pot," they reason. Wherefore, is the 
-franchise not thrown away! 

417 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Through all these different "Phases of an Inferior 
Planet" I have known the negro : for what he is. My 
knowledge of him is neither theoretical nor drawn 
from wells of New England philosophy. It is the 
result of life-long observation: not without "inher- 
ited experiences." 

Mv father was a slave-holder; as were his and my 
mother's ancestors for more than one hundred and 
thirty vears. I owned a few slaves, and with them 
was living on a plantation when the war broke out. 
T have studied the full-blooded negro, under the 
most favorable circumstances as slaves and freed- 
men. I fmd it impossible to disagree with the scien- 
tific concluson that he is an inferior species of the 
human race. There seems to be no other deduction 
than this: In the "evolution of the ages" inaugu- 
rated from the beginning by an All-Wise and 
benpficent Creator, the black was evolved at a much 
later period than the white race. Said Alexander 
H. Stephens : "For His own purposes He has made 
one race to differ from another, as He made one 
star to differ from another in glory." The late Prof. 
Louis Agassiz, LL. D., of Harvard (the foremost sci- 
entist that ever lived in America, and the highest 
authority on Comparative Physiology since Hum- 
boldt and Cuvier. under whom he studied) contrib- 
uted an Appreciation of the Negro, 

A letter from Dr. S. G. Howe, of Portsmouth, New 
Hampshire, (one of a committee appointed by the 
Congress of 1863, to get up information concerning 
the negro, and report) asked for his scientific opin- 
ion. Prof. Agassiz, after criticising the prevalent 
opinion of the unity of the races derived from Gene- 
sis, says : "That legal equality should be the com- 
mon boon of humanity can hardly be a matter of 
doubt nowaday. 1 trust we shall be wise enough 
not to complicate at once our whole system by 
thrusting on the negro social and political equal- 
ity. Social equality 1 deem at all times impractic- 
able, a natural impossibility from the very char— 

418 



THE NEGRO 

acter of the negro race. We know of the existence 
of the negro with all his physical peculiarities from 
the Egyptian Monuments several thousand years 
before the Christian era. Upon these monuments 
the negroes are so represented as to show that in 
natural propensities and mental abilities they were 
pretty much what we fmd them at the present day; 
indolent, playful, sensual, imitative, subservient, 
good natured, versatile, unsteady in their purposes, 
devoted and affectionate. 

From this picture I exclude the character of the 
half-breeds; who have more or less the characters 
of their white parents. Originally found in Africa, 
the negroes seem at all times to have presented the 
same characteristics whenever they have been 
brought into contact with the white race: as in up- 
per Egypt and along the borders of the Garthagen- 
ian and Roman settlements in Africa. 

While Egypt and Carthage grew into powerful 
empires, and attained a high degree of civilization: 
while in Babylon, Syria and Greece were developed 
the highest culture of antiquity, the negro race 
groped in barbarism and never originated a regu- 
lar organization among themselves! This is im- 
portant to keep in mind and to urge upon the at- 
tention of those who ascribe the condition of the 
modern negro wholly to the influence of slavery." 

Prof. Agassiz furthermore advises Dr. Howe 
"The Congress should be careful about bestowing 
political rights that have to be taken away.'' He 
adds, "No man has a right to what he is unfit to 
use." 

Notwithstanding, the Congress went ahead and 
bestowed political rights which some of the states 
have been compelled to greatly modify. The ne- 
groes have also had bestowed upon them by the 
United States Government and some of the States 
social rights, as to com.mon carriers and Public 
Houses : laws that cannot be enforced, because they 
are unsustained by public opinion. 

419 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Agassiz lectured in the Charleston South Carolina 
Medical College for three winters, when he had am- 
ple opportunity to study the negro race. 

My relatives, the Le Conte brothers, studied sci- 
ence under him. Their father and Agassiz were 
particular friends: both being Hugenots, and sci- 
entists. 

Agassiz was an abolitionist. I heard the Le Contes 
(sometime in the fifties) talk about his opinions as 
to the negro. He held that the negro by nature was 
an inferior type of the human race. 

He beat his dissecting-knives into pruning-hooks, 
for facts. 

Le Conte was afterward President of the Univer- 
sity of California, Joseph Le Conte Prof, of Natural 
Science, there. They died a few years ago: leaving 
scientific works that are classics in their line. 

Fed on "Uncle Tom's Cabin," to a certain body of 
the people, the negro has become a fetich. It is use- 
less to expect that facts can reach such cases. They 
are beyond all the realms of reason on the negro 
question. Albeit, Mrs. Stowe made a statement on 
her death bed admitting that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" 
was an extreme case, and that it was written to stir 
the northern mind against slavery. So she con- 
fessed. And her son, Dr. Stowe, recently, in an 
address that is given farther on, candidly admits the 
same thing, and much more. 

Some Abolitionists after residence in the South 
published books giving fair views on slavery. Rev| 
Nehemiah Adams, of Boston, was one of them. Ho 
was called "South Side Adams" by his Yankee 
brothers. Wonder they had not nick-named their 
high-priest of science, "South Side Agassiz." 

As to the presence of blacks in America, let us 
see upon which section of our Country the greater 
responsibility lies for that. In the Massachusetts 
"Fundamentals: or Bodies of Liberties," passed by 
the General Court in 1641, "the slavery of negroes 
and Indians and the slave trade, were expressly le- 

420 



THE NEGRO 

galized." In fact, so far as the Colonists themselves 
were responsible for the introduction of negro sla- 
very, the impartial historian must place the greater 
blame upon the Northern Colony. So it seems that 
after all Massachusetts has the honor of being the 
first to legalize slavery, the slave trade, and the first 
to send out a slave ship. 

The New England Historians, Bancroft, Rhodes, 
and others, however, are silent as to this truth; 
altho they devote many pages to the horrors of 
slavery in the South! Moreover they are particular 
to refer to a certain Dutch-ship, which landed 
twenty slaves at Jamestown, Virginia; in 1619, and 
to the fact that Sir Frances Drake and Queen Eliz- 
abeth were engaged as partners in the lucrative busi- 
ness. (Bancroft is very caustic in his remarks on 
this subject.) So we have to search the Chronicles 
and lesser records of the period to ascertain the 
facts.. 

We find that in 1636 only seventeen (17) years 
later, a ship "The Desire" was built and fitted out at 
Marblehead, Massachusetts, as a slaver. "They 
found the trade very remunerative and soon 
"Slavers" were sailing from every port in New Eng- 
land. In fact many of the large fortunes of Boston 
and her other cities of today were founded on this 
trade." 

"Looking upon Newport, Rhode Island, today, and 
finding it so flourishing, it seems hard to believe that 
the foundation of much of its wealth and prosperity 
rested upon the most cruel, the most execrable, the 
most inhuman traffic that was ever plied by de- 
graded men." While the Dutch, Portuguese and 
English, as mentioned, inaugurated the trade, cir- 
cumstances largely forced upon the New England 
Colonies their unsavory prominence in this sort of 
Commerce. One of their earliest methods of earn- 
ing a livelihood was in the fisheries, and this, curi- 
ously enough, led directly to the trade in slaves. 

28 421 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

To sell the great quantities of fish dragged up from 
the Banks, foreign markets must needs be found. 
The European Countries had their own fishing 
fleets on the Banks. Consequently, were poor mar- 
kets. The main markets for the New England sail- 
ors then were the West Indies. A voyage there with 
fish, was prolonged to the West Coast of Africa, 
where slaves were bought for rum. Thence, thy 
vessel would proceed to the West Indies, where the 
slaves were sold : a large part of the purchase price 
being taken in molasses, which in its turn was dis- 
tilled into rum: (at home) to be used in buying 
more slaves. To provide them, the African chiefs 
made bloody war. They even traded their wives 
and children for rum. The stories of the worst 
phases of the slave-trade seem almost incredible. 
We wonder that men of American blood could have 
been such utter brutes! But many of the foremost 
men of New England engaged in the trade and 
profited by its fruits. Peter Fanuiel, who built for 
Boston that Historical Hall, which they proudly call 
"The Cradle of Liberty" (in later years it resounded 
with the anti-slavery eloquence of Theodore Parker, 
Garrison and Wendel Phillips) was a slave owner, 
and actual participant in the slave trade. 

The most respectable merchants of Providence 
and Newport wp'^e active slavers: just as some of 
the most respectable manufacturers of today, make 
merchandise of white men, women and children; 
whose slavery is none the less slavery, because they 
are driven by the fear of starvation instead of the 
overseer's lash. , 

Perhaps one hundred years from now our de- 
scendants will see the criminality of our industrial 
system of today, as clearly as we see the wrongs T 
have touched upon. 

InefTectual efforts were made, from time to time, 
to stop the slave trade. But the Yankees wanted the 
profit and the South wanted the blacks. So the 
United States winked at the business. 

422 



THE NEGRO 

In searching American vessels for slaves — under 
the pretense of searching for seamen — Great Britain 
laid the train for the war of 1812. After that war 
(1814) the seas swarmed with adventurous Amer- 
ican sailors to whom the very fact that "slaving" 
was outlawed, made it attractive. Many years of 
sea adventure had bred among New Englanders a 
daring race of privateersmen of this type: quite as 
ready to fight for their property, as to try to save it 
by flight. So when finally in 1820 there was an in- 
ternational agreement between the United States 
and England declaring "slave trading" piracy; pun- 
ishable with death, warships were stationed on the 
coast of Africa. 

The New Englanders continued, however, to carry 
on the trade. The slavers began to carry guns; some 
with desperate crews. They were no mean antag- 
onists for a man-of-war. In some instances thes^. 
vessels carried as many as twenty cannon. The 
special dangers attending the slave-trade made 
Marine Insurance high. Twenty per cent (20% '^ 
was the usual figure. The policies covered losses 
resulting from "jettisoning, or throwing over-board 
the cargo." "They did not insure against loss from 
disease. Accordingly when a slaver found his 
cargo infected, he would promptly throw into the 
sea all the ailing negroes, to save the insurance." 

It was in England that the first earnest effort to 
break up the slave trade began. It was under the 
stars and stripes that the slavers longest protected 
their murderous traffic. Of course there were argu- 
ments brought forward to prove the "humanity of 
the trade". Of this McGauley said, "If any consid- 
erable financial interest could be served by denying 
the attraction of gravitation, there would be very 
vigorous attacks on that great physical truth." 

Slaves on the coast of Africa became cheaper and 
the price in the South higher, so a half century 
after the trade was outlawed, New England Cap- 

423 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

tains took the risk, some cargoes of five hundred, 
bringing as much as $250,000, 

The last slave-ship to land a cargo in the United 
States was the "Wanderer" flying the New York 
Yacht Club's flag, owned by a club member, and 
sailing under the auspices of a member of one of 
the prominent families of the South; Charley La- 
mar; a son of Mr. G. B. Lamar, President of the 
Bank of Commence, New York, 

Charley was born in Savannah, but spent his 
time in both cities around the clubs. He was a 
handsome, debonair man of the world. His dare- 
devil spirit caused him to sail his own ship, as 
much for the adventure as for the profit. The yacht 
made two trips as a slaver, landing her last cargo 
in Savannah, where she was seized by the United 
States marshal, Mr. Spurlock, of Rome, Georgia. 

Lamar was arrested and prosecuted by Colonel 
Henry R. Jackson, of Savannah, U. S. Dist. Attor- 
ney — , assisted by Mr. James Hamilton Coup- 

er, of St. Simon's Island. Both of these gentlemen 
were large slaveholders. Mr. Couper was of dis- 
tinguished lineage, known better as a rice-planter 
and a Scientist* than as a lawyer. 

As to the U. S. Prosecuting Attorney: He was 
Colonel Henry R. Jackson, at that time: his hard- 
won title earned as commander of the 1st. Reg. Ga. 
Vols, in Mexico. In the Civil War he was Brig,- 
General Jackson. The old General was temporarily 
assigned to the command of my brigade while we 
were in winter quarters at Dalton. One day when 
I went to call upon him, a chicken walked in and 
perched itself on the arm of the old soldier's chair. 
I said: "That chicken looks tempting to me, Gen- 
eral;" He answered: "I wouldn't kill that chicken 
for the world." "You believe in metempsychosis?" 
I suggested. "Yes:" he returned, "even now, the 
soul of some dear friend may be present." 

How commonly are gifted minds prone to erratic 
beliefs. 

424 



THE NEGRO 

General Jackson was an illustrious son of one of 
those Colonial families that made history in 
Georgia. 

The Wanderer was condemned and sold. But 
the cargo was spirited away, into the interior, and 
that was sold, too. This was in 1858, or '59. La- 
mar gave bond, and was, I think, still under bond 
at the outbreak of war. He said that on the Wand- 
erer's first trip she was overhauled on the coast of 
Africa by a British cruiser watching for slavers. 
Lamar made the Englishmen believe his ship was 
merely an American yatch on a pleasure cruise. 
He entertained the ofificers of the British cruiser at 
dinner; and was allowed to go on his way. Th*^ 
Wanderer was a hawk for speed. Lamar said he 
"could easily have shown the British man-of-war 
his heels." 

He had plenty of room for his cargo; and no 
"middle passage" sufTering. He did not practice 
"jetsoning." Both of his cargoes kept in good 
health, and being in good condition — "sold like hot 
cakes." He claimed that the slave-trade as con- 
ducted by him had ameliorated the condition of 
more Africans than did all the labors of all the mis- 
sionaries who were ever sent to Africa! 

Charley Lamar had a gibe that was not all a gibe. 
For many years negroes from these cargoes of the 
Wanderer were to be seen in Middle Georgia, — fat, 
sleek, and happy. Howsoever much we might de- 
precate the slave-trade, these involuntary emigrants 
were incomparably better off than their naked fel- 
lows left behind on the Congo: — the survivors of a 
Cannibal feast! "The rest are all at supper!" 

The Lamars are of Hugenot origin. Their an- 
cestors first settled in South Carolina. Thence, 
many of them came to Georgia; and other Southern 
States. Before the Civil War the name was synony- 
mous with broad acres of alluvial land, hosts of ne- 
groes, and countless cotton-bales. 

425 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Charley Lamar enlisted in the Confederate army. 
He was killed after Lee's surrender, in the fight with 
Wilson's raider's at Columbus, Ga. Lamar was as 
brave and dauntless, as he was adventurous. 

In 1776, Thomas Jefferson proposed to put into 
the Declaration of Independence the charge that the 
British King had forced the slave-trade on the Colo- 
nies. "A proper sense of their own guilt made the 
New England delegates oppose this charge," says a 
New England writer. Ha! The New England Con- 
science, at last! , 

Some of the Northern historians touch upon this 
matter; but in the most tentative way. Rhodes, in 
his History of the United States, mentions that Jef- 
ferson introduced an arraignment of Great Britain 
for bringing negro slavers into the Colonies: with 
a denouncement of the slave-trade. 

Says Jefferson, in his "Memoir." "The clause, 
too, reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of 
Africa, was struck out in complaisance to South 
Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to 
restrain the importation of slaves, and who, on the 
contrary, still wished to continue it. Our Northern 
brethren, also, I believe, felt a little tender under 
those censures; for though their people had very 
few slaves themselves, yet they had been pretty con- 
siderable carriers of them to others." 

Most of the slaves were sold in the South because 
they could not be worked economically at the 
North. In the 17th and 18th centuries justification 
for negro slavery was "furnished forth" by the 
Scriptures — in the opinion of the slave-holder. The 
negro was the descendent of Ham. Noah's curse 
rested upon him. Still, not long after their intro- 
duction into Virginia, negroes received baptism; 
as is shown by the church-records. At the same 
period, in Massachusetts, the baptism of negroes 
was expressly prohibited. 

Negroes could not work in a northern climate. 
There was too much enforced idleness. 

426 



THE NEGRO 

Slave labor was not economic there. So when 
the North abolished slavery, it was not altogether 
for humanitarian reasons! The warm climate of 
the South, the cultivation of cotton, corn, rice, and 
tobacco : the reclamation of cane-brakes and 
swamp-lands, invited the institution. In fact, it is 
not easy to see how the rich lands of the South 
could ever have been reclaimed, and made tributary 
to the civilization of the world, in any way but by 
the employment of negro labor. And the negro 
could only have been brought to do this work 
through slavery; forced to contribute the muscular 
effort, under the direction of the superior intelli- 
gence of the white race. It is contended at this day 
that this was an erroneous solution of our father's, 
and that they should have found a better one. In 
fact, those who founded the colony of Georgia, 
thought then, that they had a better solution of the 
problem. They prohibited slavery from the outset. 
In fourteen years they came to regard this act as a 
great mistake. The noblest spirits of that colony, 
joined in the movement for the introduction of 
negro slave labor. 

Massachusetts abolished slavery in 1780 and the 
other Northern States soon followed. But con- 
tinued to ply the slave-trade! New Jersey, Mary- 
land, and Virginia forbade any further importa- 
tion of slaves. The extension of the traffic from 
1800 to 1808 was voted for by the New England. 
States, and the clause was inserted in the Constitu- 
tion of the United States opposed by Virginia and 
Delaware. 

This clause was specially favored; it was one of 
those clauses which was protected against amend- 
ment by Article fifth {5th.) 

In the meantime slave labor became profitable in 
the cotton fields after the invention of the cotton 
gin by Eli Whitney in 1793. After abolishing 
slavery in 1790, because it did not pay; emancipat- 
ing some, but selling most of the slaves to the 

427 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

Southern People, (slave trading having been abol- 
ished about the year 1820,) certain people of New 
England, many of them descendants of slave 
traders, began to agitate about the South's right to 
hold slaves under the Constitution. Religious de- 
nominations went so far as to assert that no Chris- 
tian could be a slave-holder. Their attacks on our 
"peculiar institution" and our religious integrity, 
caused a split in some of the Churches. The Pres- 
byterians in 1837, the Methodists in 1844. 

Sectional animosity increased from year to year, 
until at length the Civil War ensued. That war 
was an effort of the dominant faction of the North 
to subvert the Constitution and to abolish slavery 
by force, more than to restore the Union. 

The "Shibboleth" they adopted was "Union", to 
rally the masses, but the "nigger was in the wood- 
pile", all the same! 

In 1790 the number of slaves was 697,604. By 
1810 they had increased to about one million or 
33%. This higher percentage of increase in the two 
decades reflects the large importation dufing the 
ten years preceding 1808 when the slave trade was 
to cease. After that our forefathers who were slave 
holders, recognizing that there were evils con- 
nected with slavery and the presence of so many 
blacks in the country, devised a solution to the 
question. 

In 1816 the Virginia Legislature passed a resolu- 
tion favoring a scheme to colonize the negroes in 
Africa. In 1817 the American Colonization Society 
was organized. 

Judge Bushrod Washington, of Westmoreland 
Co., Virginia, was First President. 

Charles Carroll^ of Carrollton, Md., was Second 
President; owner of 1,000 slaves and had the con- 
trol of 1,000 more. 

President Jas. Madison, of Virginia, was Third 
President. 

Henry Clay, of Kentucky, was fourth President. 

428 



THE NEGRO 

J. A. B, Latrobe, of Baltimore, was fifth and las( 
President, in 1860. 

Donations to and receipts of the Society up to 
1860, amounted to $1,700,000. The Society sent out 
10,000 emigrants to Liberia. That country is 380 
miles long, and 100 miles wide, containing about 
as many square miles as Massachusetts and Con- 
necticut. It is fertile. Cotton, corn, tobacco and all 
the tropic fruits and products thrive there. The 
objects of the Society, as stated, by its Secretary 
was, 'Tirst, to assist in the emancipation of all the 
slaves in the United States. Second, to promote the 
voluntary emigration to Africa of the colored pop 
ulation of the United States. Third, the suppress- 
ing of the slave trade, and the civilization of Ihe 
African tribes." 

Each state had a member of the board of direct- 
ors. My uncle, Judge E. A. Nisbet, M. C, was the 
member from Georgia, and although himself a 
large slave-holder, took much interest in emanci- 
pation, as did my father. Wm. Lloyd Garrison, 
Gerritt Smith and in fact all the prominent abol- 
itionists, were charter members and at first wer^ 
very active and co-operated with the Society, 
Slaves were being set free and sent to Liberia. But 
the abolitionists could not control the Society. Gar- 
rison finally kicked out, and attacked the effort, in 
his pamphlet, "Thoughts on African Colonization," 
published in 1832. 

The attack came at a critical time, when a plan 
had been formed to secure a yearly appropriation 
of $240,000 from Congress, with the view of in- 
creasing it; by private subscription in America and 
England, by which it was estimated the negroes 
could all be carried out of the country in twenty- 
eight years; or by 1857. The appropriation was 
defeated, through the help of Abolition votes. 

Garrison charged that the American Colonization 
Society contained too many slave holders: that the 
negroes were forced to go to Liberia. At length he 

429 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

won over the New England anti-slavery society. 
At a meeting they passed the following: "The board 
of managers of the New England anti-slavery so- 
ciety, hereby give notice that they have appointed 
Wm. Lloyd Garrison as their Agent, to proceed to 
England to Collect funds and to disseminate in that 
country the truth in relation to American slavery 
and to its ally, the American Colonization society." 
(See Life of Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Page 329). 

After that stand, the Southern zeal abated. The 
society's efforts were almost discontinued in 1860. 
I can remember as a lad (I grew up in Macon, 
Georgia) that a ship-load would be sent over occa- 
sionally from Savannah, or Baltimore, to Liberia. 

In Macon, Georgia, in the forties, and early fif- 
ties, I heard much of this matter. 

It is true, the negroes did not want to go, even 
when set free. They preferred slavery in Georgia 
to freedom in Liberia. They wanted to "live wid 
de white folks," just as they do now. Ship Gap- 
tains were prohibited bringing them away from 
Liberia. 

Some of them returned (as Stowaways) and re- 
ported that all would come back if allowed. When 
a mischievous mood was on, I had only to tell my 
father's servants that he was going to set them 
free, and send them to Liberia, to create a panic 
among them. My father would sometimes threaten 
the grown ones with freedom and Liberia, if they 
did not behave. 

Garrison in opposing the plans of the society, 
addressed meetings of free negroes. On one occa- 
sion he, said: "I am firmly persuaded to humble 
the pride of the American people by rendering your 
expulsion impracticable, and the necessity of your 
admission here to equal rights imperative." By such 
opposition the opportunity to rid the country of th'^- 
negroes was lost, and the Civil War secured! 

In January, 1856, Senator Robt. Toombs, of Geor- 
gia, by invitation, delivered a Lecture in "Tremont 

430 



THE NEGRO 

Temple" Boston. I give an extract, as a further con- 
tribution reflecting Southern opinion as to the ne- 
gro race and slavery, at that time. 

Speaking of the negro. Senator Toombs said: 
"Back to the morning of time, older than the Pyra- 
mids, he furnishes the evidence, both of his national 
identity and his social degradation. Before history 
began, we find him incapable in himself of even at- 
tempting a single step in civilization. We find him 
without government or laws of protection; without 
letters; or arts; or industry; or religion; or even 
the aspirations that would raise him to the rank of 
an idolater. And after these thousands of years 
his only mark of humanity is that he walks erect, 
in the image of his Creator. Annihilate the race to- 
day, and he would not leave behind him a single 
discovery, invention, or thought ivorthy of remem- 
brance by the human race! 

The opponents of slavery insist that its efTects on 
the society where it exists is to demoralize and en- 
ervate it, and render it incapable of advancement 
and a high civilization; and upon the citizen to de- 
base him morally and intellectually. Such is not 
the lesson taught by history, either sacred or pro- 
fane, nor the experience of the past. 

To the Hebrew race were committed the oracles 
of the Most High: slaveholding priests adminis- 
tered at His altars. Slaveholding prophets and pa- 
triarchs received His revelations; taught them to 
their own, and transmitted them to all future gen- 
erations of man. The highest forms of ancient "civ- 
ilization, and the noblest development of the indi- 
vidual man, are to be found in the ancient slave- 
holding commonwealths of Greece and Rome. 

In eloquence, in rhetoric, in poetry and painting, 
in architecture and sculpture, you must still go 
and search amid the wreck and ruins of their genius 
for the "pride of every model and the perfection of 
every master;" and the language and literature of 
both, stamped with immortality, passes on to min- 

431 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

gle itself with the thought, and the speech of all 
lands, and all centuries. That domestic slavery 
neither enfeebles nor deteriorates our race : that it 
is not inconsistent with the highest advancement 
of man and society, is the lesson taught by all an- 
cient, and confirmed by all modern, history." 

The year after Toombs was heard in Boston on 
the sizzling subject, in 1857, Roger B. Taney, Chief 
Justice of the United States Supreme Court, deliv- 
ered the opinion of the Court in the case of Dred 
Scott, a fugitive slave: remanding him to the cus- 
tody of his master. This decision, after exhaustive- 
ly presenting the Constitutional grounds upon 
which it was based, made this legal interpretation 
of the sense of the Constitution as regards the 
negro. 

"Negroes are not included in the ivord 'citizen' as 
employed in the Constitution of the United States. 

"They are regarded as an inferior order of be- 
ings: altogether unfit for association with luhite 
men, in social and political relations." 

In characterizing the negro race it is not meant 
to include the respectable element among them. To 
say that after fifty years of freedom and schooling 
about eight-tenths of the race are ignorant, and lack 
even the first instincts of morality, is not to assert 
that all of them are so. Some of them, (usually 
mulattoes,) exhibit a high order of mentality; and 
are accomplishing good in the up-lift of their fel- 
lows. But all of these bright fellows have more or 
less Caucasian blood in their veins; demonstrating 
that there is no calculating the potentialities of a 
drop of white blood. The general rule holds. 

Although certain individual negroes, are, on ac- 
count of favorable opportunities, superior in mental 
and material acquirements to certain whites, who 
from bifth have known nothing but ignorance and 
wan.t. being creatui^es of untoward circumstances. 

It ht^s taken two generations, more than one hun- 
dred and fifty million dollars of public school' 

432 



THE NEGRO 

funds, with the entire imput from private sources, 
to produce a Booker Washington, Prof. Du Bois, 
and a few others, out of a population of nearly ten 
millions! These men deserve great credit for what 
they have accomplished and are still doing, namely 
teaching their race on technical lines. 

But as Thomas Nelson Page says: "Negro edu- 
cation in general will continue to be a farce, until 
he is taught that education consists in something 
more than mere ability to read and write: that ed- 
ucation includes moral elevation, as well as intel- 
lectual development : that religion includes morality 
and is more than emotional excitement.' 

They have not progressed morally. There lie-^ 
the trouble. Their young folks (as a rule) have no 
proper examples of morality in their homes, and 
domestic life. It is there the principles of a people 
are formed: though furthered by the discipline of 
the public schools. 

After an experiment of fifty years, there are well- 
meaning people who doubt if education benefits the 
negro. They hold that where there is no moral 
stamina, the attainments of an education is an in- 
jury and if it is superior to their station, or the work 
they are destined to follow, it is very apt to unfit 
them for both. 

It is true that the advancement of young negroes 
in the primary classes is equal to the whites. In 
the kindergarten, slum children and pickaninnies, 
are exactly on a par with the children of lawyers, 
doctors, merchants and preachers : in responsive- 
ness, alertness, eagernes and ability to comprehend 
and perform, there is no difference. Race, color, 
or previous condition of servitude has no bearing in 
the primary classes. Up to a certain stage all chil- 
dren are very much alike, expressing in their lives 
the purely elemental or primitive traits. But when 
adolescence arrives, you find individuality coming 
to the fore, preferences expressed, and ambitions 
defined. 

433 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

It is like a horse race. They are all bunched at 
the start. At first turn some have dropped out; at 
second, more, and at third turn, the negro has "done 
quit". In the home stretch but few remain. The 
test is the ability to "stay in" and give out the extra 
burst of power when demanded. But the negro 
lacks ambition, and stability, balks at difficulties, 
and falls down at the critical moment. 

Certain people make much of the fact that the 
census of 1900 shows that the eight and a half mil- 
lion negroes in the United States accumulated three 
hundred and thirty-nine millions of property. A 
per capita of forty-six (45) dollars. Much of this 
is due to the negroes in the Northern states, whose 
ancestors were freed one hundred and twenty years 
ago. They are more white than black; and many 
of them are rich by long inheritance and exceptional 
opportunities. 

The negroes of the South, I find, owned only $25 
per capita, and most of that was returned by ex- 
slaves, who had been trained to habits of industry 
and thrift. In Georgia they pay taxes on Fifteen 
millions of property, which, however, is only SVi^^c 
of the total assessment of the state. These statistics 
fail to bear out the claim that the negro has made 
a remarkable material progress. Compared with 
what the Russian Jews, Italians and Greeks have 
accumulated in the last twenty-five years, since 
coming to the United States, it is significant. 

In individual cases, blacks have accumulated for- 
tunes, some of them seem to have inherited the fac- 
ulty of acquiring. Like some whites their bump 
of acquisitiveness is largely developed at the expense 
of the moral faculties. 

Moral Philosophers class Acquisitiveness as a 
doubtful moral quality. Its fruits as often prove a 
curse as a blessing; unless accompanied with in- 
tellective virtues, and moral qualities. 

Lord Bacon calls riches "the baggage of virtue.'* 

434 



THE NEGRO 

They hinder the march. "Impedimenta," as Caesar 
called his army baggage-wagons. 

There remains something of truth in Dickens' ob- 
servation : "Your concentrated fox is seldom com- 
parable to your contracted ass, in money-breeding." 
A competence is usually the result of industry, 
thought, persistence, and frugality; virtues in mod 
eration. but vices when developed toward narrow 
concentration and rapacity. One may have the 
powi-'r of acquisition, and little that is amiable, il- 
hmTinatinff, or in any way connected with the high- 
er qualities of mind or heart. 

In the history of the world the United States 
stands in isolation as the only nation which ever 
raised its slaves to the full right of citizpnship with- 
out aDprenticeship to responsibility: — without even 
the dpsirr' for such rights having been expressed 
by the slaves. 

Had they been let alone, the whites and blacks 
of the South would have settled their difficulties 
alone" lines of justice, equity and friendly relations. 

Perhaps the most remarkable study of the negro 
which has appeared, is a book. "The American 
Negro," by Wm. Hannibal Thomas, of Massachu- 
setts. The author is a colored man educated in 
Ohio, and a lawyer and Legislator in South Carolina 
after the war. Writing of the negro's moral retro- 
gression since slavery, he says: "The simple truth 
is that there is going on side by side in the negro 
people, a minimum progress, with a maximum re- 
gress." 

The census returns show that the negro popula- 
tion has about trebled itself since the war. But the 
last census shows a falling off in the per cent of in- 
crease. The 12th census shows that in the United 
State one-ninth of the negroes are of mixed blood; 
in Cuba, one half; and in Porto Rico, five-sixths 
have been so classed. As race feeling intensifies, 
th-^ intermixture of the two races in the United 

435 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

States will inevitably continue to decrease. The 
solution of the problem is segregation. 

The most deplorable part of the negro problem is 
the crime of assault. The righteous excitement of 
the whites causes them to take the law in their own 
hands. In some instances the beast has been burnt 
at the stake. This is to be deprecated, because it 
has the tendency to brutalize the community in 
which is thus punished this most awful crime. 
Mob violence destroys the people's sense of inviolate 
law. Consequently over one-half of the lynchings 
of 1911 were for other crimes than the one almost 
peculiar to the negro. 

During the period of slavery the crime of rape 
did not exist. The men were away in the army; 
the negroes were the loyal guardians of the women 
and children. On isolatpd plantations; in lonely 
neighborhoods; women ivere^ secure. Then came 
the period of "Reconstruction' with its poisonous 
teachings. The "new negro" has matured, and ap- 
peared on the scene. Most of the old negroes witlt 
thpir respect for "de white folks" have passed away. 
The old feeling of friendliness and amity has 
waned. In its room has come coldness and suspi- 
cion if not active hostility. 

Thom.as Nelson Page, the best qualified writer 
on this subject, in his exhaustive work, "The Ne- 
^i:*o, the South's Problem", says: "Lynching does 
not end ravishing. Indeed, through lacking the 
supreme principles of the law, it fails utterly to 
meet the necessity of the case, even as a deterrent. 
There is no pity for the lynched victim. The right 
man is generally slain, for nothing else but the life 
of the perpetrator of the crime, would satisfy the 
mob. The real injury is the crime of destroying 
the law. It has been said, that the whole purpose 
of the Constitution of Great Britain is, "that twelve 
men may sit on the jury." But the young negro, 
^'the new issue" want to familiarize with white 
women. When any attempt they make at social 

436 



THE NEGRO 

equality is resented, as it always is at the Souths 
the matter is discussed and the devil gets into some 
ignorant fiend's head. So altho we may lament 
lawlessness, the crime of lynching will not cease, 
until the crime of ravishing shall cease; and that 
will not greatly diminish until the negroes cease to 
condone it. 

The leading negroes denounce the lynching, and 
underlying their protest is that the victim of the 
mob is innocent and a martyr. 

A crusade has been preached by the negroes and 
their northern friends against lynchings, but they 
say nothing against the ravishing and tearing to 
pieces of white women and children." 

When the Civil War was going on, certain people 
of the North were in a state of expectancy that the 
negroes would strike a blow for their own freedom 
by rising in the rear, as they had the opportunity 
to do, and as we feared some of them might do. 
Those who will examine the periodicals of the pe- 
riod, specially "The Atlantic Monthly" and ihe Con- 
tinental Monthly," will find them teeming with 
covert suggestions^ all showing "the wish that was 
father to the thought." 

To start that movement, Col. Thos. Wentworth 
Higginson organized a Regiment from the refugeR 
negroes at Beaufort, South Carolina, which he called 
the 1st South Carolina (colored) Infantry. This was 
intended as a nucleus of a general slave rising. 

The negroes, however, be it said to their praise, 
stood by "Missus and de chillun" and refused to dis- 
turb the Confederates with any fire in the rear. Their 
fidelity to their master's families, was worthy of a 
"monument reaching to the stars". In the city of 
Charleston can be seen a noble monument commem- 
orating the fidelity of the slaves during the Civil 
War. 

There w^ere considerable enlistments of negroes 
in the Federal army. The number, as reported 
reached one hundred and ninety thousand. This 

437 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

embraced all the soldier-elements of negroes in the 
Northern States, and refugee-element in the South- 
ern States, induced to enter the army either by per- 
suasion, compulsion or bounties. Being generally 
enlisted to fill some state's quota under a call for 
troops, their Regiments were often named and num- 
bered after such Northern states. 

After the summer of 1863, the Northern armies 
occupied at least one-half of the South, while the 
penetration of raiding parties into other ports 
otYered opportunity to possibly one-fourth of the 
younger men to escape from bondage, had they been 
moved by the passion for freedom. For every one 
who fled to freedom, possibly one hundred stood by 
their master's wives and children. In truth they 
were infected ivith the same ardor and spirit that 
filled the whites. 

Had the South called for volunteers from the ne- 
groes, more would have offered than could have 
been armed. No one can read the record, and re- 
fuse to admit that slavery was abolished in the prov- 
idence of God; because its purpose had been accom- 
plished; the time was ripe for its cessation. 



XXXIX. 

A RESUME. 

I write on the Fiftieth anniversary of the out- 
break of the "War between the States." The battle 
of Manassas had just been fought and this country 
was an armed camp from the Rio Grande to the 
Canada line: from the Pacific to the Atlantic 
Oceans. 

Each side was animated by loyalty to what the 
past of their section of the country and the circum- 
stances then existing convinced them was a just 
cause. The Southerner was honest in his inter- 

43S 



RESUME 

pretation of the Constitution, The North is begin- 
ning to view the situation in that same Ught. The 
histories that have been written, have not given the 
South proper credit; but the History of the civil war 
is yet to be written. 

Says Edwin Markham: "I have always thought, 
that some day the Civil War will be flung upon the 
screen of the present in a work of literary art that 
will tell the pity and terror of it all, as the lens 
reveals the wonder of the eclipse. 

Many of our writers have already swept this war 
into novel and drama, but to my mind, no one has 
yet caught the epic stride, the tremendous climax 
that will mark the final portrayal of this brother 
conflict." 

Much has been written of the Ethics of War. Now 
while wars inspired by Ambition, conquest, revenge, 
robbery or Glory, are wrong, we must remember 
that some wars have been the expression of human 
progress : they have been the purification and econ- 
omy of the human race. 

The thirty years' war that followed the Reforma- 
tion gave the world liberty and free thought. Noth- 
ing but war could loose the shackles that had bound 
til" people a thousand years. And it seems ordained 
of God since the world began. 

"Strike war from the records of the human race; 
the most splendid pages of history and poetry 
would have been lost, many virtues unknown, and 
a thousand graces never have bloomed; the most 
brilliant parts of literature extinguished. Nations 
would degenerate into herds of cowards, eaten up 
with selfish lusts: honor would have no place in 
our vocabulary. Those who would have all wars 
cease would give us over to the dead — rot of peace, 
and make of all nations Chinamen." 

But on the other side, as a powerful illustration of 
war carried on for Glory and ambition, I quote from 
a locture delivered by a distinguished Union soldier. 

This distinguished Federal Soldier has beautifully 

439 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

said: "A little while ago I stood by the grave of 
the old Napoleon, a magnificent tomb of Gilt and 
Gold, fit almost for a dead deity, and gazed upon 
the sarcophagus of rare nameless marble, where 
rests at last the ashes of that restless man. I leaned 
over the balustrade and thought about the career 
of the greatest soldier of the modern world. I saw 
him walking upon the banks of the Seine contem- 
plating suicide. I saw him at Toulon. I saw him 
putting down the mob in the streets of Paris. I saw 
him at the head of the army of Italy. I saw him 
crossing the bridge of Lodi : with the tri-color in his 
hand. I saw him conquer the Alps and mingle the 
Eagles of France with the Eagles of the Crags. T 
saw him at Marengo. At Dim and Austerlitz. I 
saw him in Russia, where the Infantry of the snow 
and the cavalry of the wild-blast scattered his le- 
gions like winter's withered leaves. I saw him 
at Liepsic in defeat and disaster, driven by a mil- 
lion bayonets back upon Paris, clutched like a wild 
beast; banished to Elba. I saw him escape and re- 
take an empire by the force of his genius. I saw 
him upon the frightful field of \^^aterloo, where 
chance and fate combined to wreck the fortunes of 
their former King. And I saw him at Helena with 
his hands crossed behind him, gazing out upon the 
sad and solemn sea. 

I thought of the orphans and widows he had 
made : of the tears that had been shed for his glory : 
of the only woman who had ever loved him, pushed 
from his heart by the cold hand of ambition. And 
I said, I would rather have been a French peasant 
and worn wooden shoes. I would rather have lived 
in a hut with a vine growing on the door, and the 
grapes growing purple in the kisses of the autumn 
sun. 

I would rather have been that poor peasant with 
my loving wife by my side, knitting as the day died 
out of the sky; with my children upon my knees, 
and their arms about me. Would rather have been 

440 



RESUME 

I hat man and gone down io the tongueless silence 
.)f the dreamless dust, than to have been that im- 
perial impersonation of force and murder known 
as Napoleon the Great.' ' 

A final word as to whv the Confederacy failed. 
Tt was not for the want of men or material re- 
sources, so much as through mismanagement at 
Richmond. 

Pollard takes this view. He says: The Gonted- 
eracy succumbed, not from material exhaustion or 
want of men, for five million people rightly ani- 
mated could always furnish an army of Three Hun- 
dred thousand men; and there were provisions rot- 
ting at the Depots, for want of transportahon. Let 
us "not be blind to the truth, that there is such a 
thing possible as a decay of national confidence and 
a death of national spirit. There is such a thing 
as heart-break for nations, as for indiTiduals. There 
is such a thing as hopelessness and despair. A cmi- 
viction that all we can do, must come to naught. 

Bear in mind the basic truth, that the Southern 
soldier ivould have succeeded, had he not been mis- 
managed! When the Givil War came upon us, the 
people of the South were strictly agricultural. They 
did not understand how to inaugurate a financial 
system commensurate to meet the necessities o^ 
war. 

Their want of commercial tact, or business 
knowledge, was soon perceptible. It was well illus- 
trated in the South's commissariat. Gotten could 
have been freely used at all times to obtain gold or 
supplies. 

In 1862 certain parties (after Memphis was occu- 
pied^ ofYered, (having Federal sanction) to deliver 
to Gonfederate Agents, thirty thousand hogsheads 
of bacon and accept pay in cotton. President Da- 
vis declined the proposition. He said, "No. The 
North will stop the war to get our cotton. They 
will be forced to have it, to get gold to meet the 
interest on the public debt." 

441 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

In the meantime the cotton aroimd Memphis that 
coold have been used, (sold in Northern' Agents^ 
was destroyed to l^eep it from fnlUng into Yankee 
possession. And the Southern soldiers continued 
to suffer for meat, clothing, blanj^vels, while the war 
progressed. From cotton sales, our soldiers could 
have been paid partly in gold nnd a bounty given. 
Patriotism is a Southern product, but our 'soldiers 
would have done even better with a little hard cash, 
good uniforms, and good rations. 

The army of Northern Virginia was reduced to 
one-half pound meat per day, then to one-third 
pound: and then to one-fourth pound; and upon 
this last allowance the army of Northern Virginia 
wintered in 1864 and '65. 

The Confederate Government could have rplieved 
the situation by going into "Blockade Running" on 
a large scale. A large majority of the private block- 
ade runners were succeeding in eluding th^ Fed- 
eral "blockading fleet". The blockade runners were 
built especialhj for speed and painted smoke-color. 
By slipping in or out the ports, when dense fogs 
added to the obscurity of the night, they were sel- 
dom seized. The profit on one such cargo would 
make a skipper rich. 

The Confederate Government, however, went into 
a contract with Crenshaw and Co., which proved to 
be ineffectual. It was a policy of blunder. With- 
out subsistence, the Confederacy was bound to col- 
lapse. With a live and^ong-headed Administration 
of Public Affairs there w^ould have been— no 
Appomattox ! 



xxxx. 

AFTERWORD. 

Flushed with the victory that was the death-knell 
of the Confederacy, President Lincoln, in dedjcat- 

442 



AFTERWORD 

ing the battleground as a National park, delivered 
his celebrated Gettysburg speech, which has become 
a classic. 

It was an eloquent oration; but true only in part. 
His declaration that had the Confederates prevailed 
at Gettysburg "free government would have per- 
ished from the earth," was a false imputation. 

His claim that this battle had settled forever one 
question: "that the government of the people, by 
the people and for the people, should not perish 
from the earth:" remains still a doubtful claim. 

War left us an inheritance of civil demoraliza- 
tion. So far, we have had a Government of the 
trusts, by the trusts and for the trusts! Laws are 
framed and the courts are organized in the inter- 
ests of the money-power. 

When an acknowledged leader gets out on the 
firing-line, he is heeded. Mr. Samuel Untermeyer, 
who has been leading Attorney and adviser of the 
Wall Street capitalists, maintains that "fewer than 
twelve men control seventy-five per cent of all the 
money in the United States; that the control is 
absolute and despotic; and that all this power is 
exercised absolutely irithin the laiv." 

On this subject Mr, Untermeyer, of all other men, 
has the ability to be conclusive. He has made a 
passive statement of an overwhelming condition of 
things. Compared with the momentous "money- 
power" the violations of the law which the Fed- 
eral Government is engaged in trying to punish, 
are puny in their unimportance. Compared with 
this toppling issue, what are the "burning issues" 
over which men argue and grow excited, The con 
centration and control of capital overshadows, en- 
compasses, includes them all. 

This state of things is causing discontent. It is 
portentous. What is the remedy? "Either the lire 
will be put out and all will be well ; or the fire \>'iH 
not be put out— and all will be hell!" 

443 



FOUR YEARS ON THE FIRING LINE 

The French Revolution was caused by the high 
price of bread. 

In this country, a change must come. No coun- 
try can live, in which a handful of people own all, 
and control all. Now that a progressive adminis- 
tration advocates the interest of all the people — • 
light breaks through the gloom. American pros- 
perity seems to be assured. The romance of great 
achievements in commerce and industrial pursuits, 
where every man is given a free and square deal, is 
the promise offered. May the hope be realized. 

As to Mr. Lincoln's claim that the question of 
"Constitutional Rights" was settled at Gettysburg, 
— this, likewise, was false. In proof of this as- 
ertion I quote from one of the High Priests of Abol- 
itionism. Edward Reecher, the brainiest of all the 
Reechers, also spoke that day, on the spot where 
the Confederacy was lost — the battlefield of Get- 
tysburg. 

It was a majestic oration. TTiere are periods in 
his address full of philosophical wisdom: kingly in 
grandeur of thought. 

And the man was a hero ! The audience of Con- 
querors expected eulogies of the victorious dead. 
The speaker stood on the heights' held by Meade's 
men. It was the citadel-rock of nature's own bas- 
tion. And the orator declared that the only que- 
stion settled there was not one of Constitutional 
Rights but one of the ability on the part of armed 
men, on those rugged cliffs, — men superior in num- 
bers and equipment — to defeat, a smaller force, 
marching through open plains, and under the fierce 
fire of musketry and cannon!" 

The fact remains that the most enduring mili- 
tary picture the Civil War has left in the American 
mind, is Pickett's charge at Gettysburg! 

As an illustration of the sentiment which is 
awakening in our country: At a notable banquet 
in Roston, not long ago, where many superior peo- 
ple were foregathered, it was frankly admitted that 

444 



AFTERWORD 

''(he glory of arms was with the South: and th-i 
great Captains of the sanguinary struggle, were 
from that land of warriors." 

History cannot forever withhold the laurel - 
wreath from the people who "swore to their own 
hurt, and changed not." 

"There is a certain noble and just element in 
man, which, in the centuries, concedes honor where 
honor is due. Shafts of marble rise where the con- 
suming fires left the ashes of martyrs. The noblest 
pile in the greatest city of the world, is called by 
the name of the apostle whose body was seamed 
by lash, and stone, and bludgeon: St. Paul's, in 
London. The matchless edifice of the earth, by th(> 
Tiber, is known after the old peasant who perished 
on a cross, with head down." 

"No more upon the mountain, 
No longer by the shore — 
The trumpet song of Dixie 
Shall shake the world no more! 
For Dixie's song's are over 
Her glory gone on high. 
And the men that bled for Dixie 
Have laid them down to die." 

THE END. 



445 



i